The paperwork has been signed and it's official that Julie Lyle will become the new Dog Warden in Lucas County, OH.
The position is the one that was vacated January 1st when long-time dog-killer Tom Skeldon officially stepped down.
"There was a culture over there for decades that just didn't put a very high value on the lives of animals an in turn, had one of the highest kill rates in all of Ohio," said County Commissioner Ben Konop. "That sort of nonthinking, catch-and-kill mentality hopefully will be long gone. If Julie does what she's saying she's goingt o do, I think we're going to be a shining example of what a dog warden ought to be in 2010."
I confess that I don't know much about Lyle -- but at least she's saying all the right things. Immediate changes she plans to make include:
1) Giving all of the animals names, instead of just being assigned numbers
2) Change how the department handles 'pit bulls' and hopefully reverse the county's long-standing policy against adopting out any 'pit bull' type dogs.
3) Create greater cooperation with area rescue groups and she says she hopes to have an adoption/transfer rate of at least 80% (the shelter's kill rate is currently at 72%).
The idea of what an animal control department is supposed to do is indeed changing -- and no longer is it enough just to operate as a catch and kill dog warden. Society expects that animal control will also protect animals from people -- including being killed in the shelter -- also.
Ms. Lyle begins April 12. I wish her the best of luck in changing over one of the nation's most deadly shelters.