The Logan County Humane Society’s board was forced to layoff three Top of Ohio Pet Shelter employees Friday due to a lack of funds, according to board president Christopher DeWitt.
“When you don’t have the money to pay your staff, there are things that have to be cut,” DeWitt said. “…You have to cut somewhere, and it’s not going to be at the expense of the dogs.”
The shelter started the year with 13 employees and is now down to four.
The board terminated former executive director Gail Friend’s contract in mid-January and five other employees quit then, DeWitt said. Steffen Baldwin, CEO of Ohio’s Animal Cruelty Task Force and former Union County Humane Society director, is currently filling in at the shelter as its executive director.
“We are just trying to get through the storm,” DeWitt said.
DeWitt said the agency will use volunteers to make sure the quality of service to the animals does not suffer.
Logan County Sheriff’s Office deputies are still looking for two suspects that stole at least $1,300 from the shelter Jan. 19. Logan County Sheriff Andrew Smith said there was no update to the investigation at this time.
Ohio’s Attorney General’s Office is also investigating the agency concerning its finances, DeWitt said.
The humane society’s board asked the Logan County Commissioners last week for additional funding and its request was denied.
The county currently gives the pet shelter 90 percent of its dog tag sales.
Rebecca Wilkins owns a small business in Bellefontaine and said it makes her sad to see the humane society go through all it has recently.
She said she hopes the agency can get its act together soon. Wilkins added she believes the humane society is a valuable asset to the community, but if it’s not being managed correctly it should shut down.
“I work hard for the money I make and to pay the taxes; I want to make sure they are being used carefully and not just thrown away,” Wilkins said.
DeWitt said he hopes the Attorney General’s Office will finish its investigation into the agency soon so it can get its finances in order and move on.
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