New shelter for dog warden in Mahoning Co. will provide more security

On May 20, a man entered the current facility through an unlocked gate and got away with a dog

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A new shelter for the Mahoning County Dog Warden should increase security, preventing incidents like what happened two weeks ago where a dog was stolen from the pound.

When Mahoning County Commissioners awarded contracts for the new shelter, it was meant to serve as much more than a place to house stray and abandoned animals.

“It’ll be more secure. We won’t have to worry about every single person coming in or possibly going to steal a dog,” said Dog Pound Kennel Manager Rick Tunison.

On May 20, the existing pound’s lone surveillance camera caught a gray SUV pulling into the parking lot on Youngstown’s west side. The passenger entered the building and came back out 90 seconds later with a dog, which Tunison says he stole.

“He was literally in the building for, well, from the time the car got there ’til the time the car left, three minutes,” Tunison said. “He came in, was able to leash a dog up, walk right out the side door like he just adopted a dog, loaded the dog into the vehicle and he was on his way before anyone really thought twice about it.”

Officials say the man walked past a number of volunteer dog walkers and got into the kennels through a gate that is kept unlocked during the day.

“The kennel doors are open for the volunteers to be able to take the dogs in and out through the side, as to not disturb people purchasing licenses or handling business in the front office,” Tunison said.

Although volunteers have put up reward money to find the stolen dog, it hasn’t been seen since.

Mahoning County Dog Warden Dianne Fry says security is just one of the issues being addressed with the new shelter.

“Actually, our facility was built to house 22 dogs for three days and then they were put to sleep.”

The dog that was taken last week had been there six months.

Groundbreaking for the new shelter is expected by the end of July.

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