Recently a shocking video captured by volunteers at the Mahoning County Dog Pound in Youngstown, Ohio was released on Facebook to the horror of viewers worldwide. The video showed an obviously frightened and hungry dog padlocked inside a tiny cage that was meant to house a cat or a smaller breed dog at best. The interior of the cage was covered in feces and the only thing filling the food bowl seen inside the cage was the dog’s own excrement. The dog was shown picking through his own waste in search of food crumbs. The outrage produced by this video continues to reach far and wide as animal lovers across the world view it.
Immediately a passionate battle began between those who blamed the staff for this cruel treatment and those who stand behind the staff and claim that they do the best that they can with the facilities and funding that has been alloted to them by local government. Those supporting the staff do not deny that the facilities themselves need serious renovation in order to be fully humane to animals being housed within it’s walls but they also strongly state that this is due to no fault of the staff itself and that they too strongly wish to see positive changes in the housing options available to these animals. They have reported that the padlock was utilized to protect volunteers and the general public that enter the facility because they do not have an area where special aggressive dogs can be safely and humanely kept out of the reach of people who refuse to follow requests to not handle an animal that has been deemed potentially aggressive by staff.
On the other side of this debate there are those who claim that this situation is a direct case of animal cruelty committed by the staff members and that this is not the first time they have seen cruelty and neglect at the Mahoning County Pound. Volunteers have stated that this dog was left padlocked in this cage without respite for days without proper nourishment and without his cage being cleaned, but staff strongly deny these allegations. The video footage and photographs that have been produced do seem to support the claim of animal cruelty by staff put forth by some of their volunteers but staff supporters say that these images are being misconstrued by people who may have good intentions but do not have a full understanding of the situation. This explanation is very possible but staff and their supporters have lost credibility due to the fact that an Ohio rescue that specializes in rehabilitating aggressive animals was promised a chance to rescue the dog which the rescue aptly named “Paddy” but unfortunately this promise was later reneged upon resulting in the dog being euthanized.
The lines are still drawn and this war continues but both sides agree that Paddy’s death is unfortunate and that his last remaining days were not the most pleasant but in the end the persons responsible for the handling and outcome of this situation and others like it are still in question. Is a cruel uncaring staff to blame or are government officials who have ignored the staff pleas for funding and renovation at the Mahoning County Pound ultimately responsible for this tragedy? At this time it would seem there are no easy clear cut answers but it is obvious that something must be done to stop this from happening again in the future.