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Hunters and dog owners must obey law: Use common sense

Holmes County deputy dog warden Scott Goodland is hoping for a full hunting season without a dog being killed. Deer archery season opened Sept. 30 and runs through Feb. 4, 2018. Youth gun season will open Nov. 18 and run through Nov. 19. Gun season for adults will open Nov. 27 and run through Dec. 3 with a one-day event Dec. 16-17. Muzzleloader season will begin Jan. 6, 2018, and end Jan. 9, 2018.


Holmes County deputy dog warden Scott Goodland has a simple dream. “I’d love to go one full hunting season without a dog being killed,” he said.
He’s been with the department close to five years and said every deer season he gets many calls about dogs. Some are from hunters upset stray dogs are chasing off deer and ruining their hunting experience. Goodland points out the deer don’t belong to hunters but are the property of the state of Ohio. Other calls come from owners who have a missing dog.
Sometimes they will find the dogs with buckshot, arrows or bolts in them. Sometimes they will just find a dog’s body or maybe not even find a dog at all.
Goodland wants dog owners to be aware of the dangers their pets face when they are running around the countryside during hunting and trapping season. All dogs are required to be kept on the owner's property even in rural areas.
Hunters sometimes believe they have a right to kill a trespassing animal who is harassing them or deer, but this isn’t correct. Ohio’s “Goddard’s Law” became effective in 2016 and makes it a fifth-degree felony to knowingly cause serious physical harm to a companion animal.
A Belmont County judge sentenced Michael Chedester to six months in jail, probation and 500 hours of community service after Chedester plead guilty to killing two dogs he said were chasing deer on his hunting property. He also was fired from his job with American Electrical Power.
"At the time I believed I had a right to do what I had done, and that’s a lack of understanding,” Chedester said, according to Steubenville’s WTOV. “It's not an excuse to not obey the laws of Ohio."
Section 955.28 of the Ohio Revised Code says a dog can be killed if it is chasing or approaching in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, attempts to bite or endanger, or kills or injures a person. Otherwise it is illegal to kill a companion animal.
Goodland is quick to point out not all the fault to this problem is with hunters. “People spend a lot of money hunting,” he said. “It’s unfair to the hunter.”
Goodland said he understands hunting can be an expensive investment. He points out that aside from the monetary expenses involved in buying hunting licenses, firearms, ammunition, clothing and other supplies, many hunters spend hours cutting trails, setting up stands, corn piles, salt licks and doing other preparations.
Goodland said the Holmes County Dog Warden’s Department works with both parties. He doesn’t blame one side or the other and will talk to both pet owners and hunters. He would like to see everyone properly caring for their pets.
“Everyone is receptive and open to education,” he said.
Aside from roaming dogs being in danger and unfair to hunters, he also said it’s unfair to wildlife. He said once dogs begin to chase a deer, they will not give up until they catch the deer or the deer dies from exhaustion.
Goodland would like the community to view the Dog Warden’s Department as the number-one resource in Holmes County for public education on canine topics. He makes sure to note that people can always call the office with any questions they have.
He said hunters and trappers should check the laws every year because they change often. Dogs can get caught in traps and sometimes need to have limbs amputated. It’s important for trappers to make sure the snares they are using are legal.
Goodland said members of the Dog Warden’s Department would be happy to speak to any sportsmen groups or hunting clubs interested in the laws or practices pertaining to dogs and hunting.
The Holmes County Dog Warden’s Office is located at 5387 County Road 349 in Millersburg and can be reached by phone at 330-674-6301 or online at www.holmescountydogwarden.com.

Published: October 5, 2017
New Article ID: 2017170929920