The days are getting cooler, and summer has come to an
end. These two things tell us that many eager sportsmen in Ohio
are ready to hit the woods in hopes of harvesting a White Tail Deer.
It is important for all hunters and dog owners to educate
themselves on Ohio law when it comes to dogs running at large and
when a dog can legally be shot and killed. Belmont County, 2017,
first day of deer gun season, Mr. Byers had two of his dogs escape
from his property and run into the woods. They made their way up
to Mr. Chedester’s tree stand where he was hunting. Mr. Chedester
shot and killed both of Mr. Byers’s dogs. A full investigation was
completed by the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department, and Mr.
Chedester was later charged with two counts of Felony Prohibitions
Concerning Companion Animals. Mr. Chedester was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail and three years of probation. In the court room Mr. Chedester stated that “At the time, I believed I had the right to do what I had done, and that’s a lack of understanding.”
First and foremost, dog owners, you have a legal obligation to keep your dogs confined to the property
and under reasonable control as referenced in Ohio Revised Code 955.22. We understand that perfect dog owners do not exist, as dogs, like people have minds of their own. We understand if accidents happen. However, it’s especially important during this time of year to make sure you are dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s when it comes to keeping your dog under control. Even if not shot intentionally, your dog could be killed or injured unintentionally. Communicate with your neighbors about your missing dogs and file a report with our office.
Hunters, we are aware of how much an unconfined dog can destroy your hunting. It’s reasonable that
you’re frustrated, as you put time and money into your property and gear. You have waited all year! Here is what you need to know. You simply CAN NOT shoot a dog that is trespassing on your property and not
harming you or any of your livestock. The Ohio Revised Code lays out specific guidelines for when a dog can be killed and they are as follows :“ a dog that is chasing or approaching in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, that attempts to bite or otherwise endanger, or that kills or injures a person or a dog that chases, threatens, harasses, injures, or kills livestock, poultry, other domestic animal, or other animal, that is the property of another person, except a cat or another dog, can be killed at the time of that chasing, threatening, harassment, approaching, attempt, killing, or injury. (O.R.C 955.28)
It’s important to understand that wild white tail deer on your
property are not your property. A dog or dogs chasing wild deer on
your property or a property you hunt is not grounds to shoot them and
if you choose to do so, you can be charged with animal cruelty. Ohio
law states that, “no person shall knowingly torture, torment, needlessly
mutilate or maim, cruelly beat, poison, needlessly kill, or commit an act
of cruelty against a companion animal” (O.R.C 959.131) So, with that
being said, if you have problems with dogs running at large on your
hunting property, you need to report it as soon as possible with the Holmes County Dog Warden’s
Department at 330-674-6301.
The Holmes County Dog Warden’s Department responds to hunter complaints of dogs running at
large frequently during this time of year. We would much rather respond to a dog running at large complaint than a dog shot and killed complaint. Here is how it works.
1: Make the call. Report it. Provide basic information, if available, like the dog owner, address,
where the incidents are occurring, description of dogs, and the last occurrence.
2: If no information is available, provide game camera images of the dogs. We will scout the
area, check our license data base, and talk to nearby residences attempting to pinpoint the dog
3: We will address the complaint and educate the dog owner on what they are required to do
and take any legal action if required.
It is important to realize just because we address the issue with the dog owner, it does not mean it will
resolve. Continue reporting it and we will continue doing our job and holding dog owners accountable. We hope that both hunters and dog owners stay happy and healthy during the upcoming hunting season. If you are a dog owner or a hunter in Holmes County and you have any questions, please contact the Holmes County Dog Warden’s Department at 330-674-6301.
Ohio Revised Code Spotlight
(B) No person shall knowingly torture, torment, needlessly mutilate or maim, cruelly beat,
poison, needlessly kill, or commit an act of cruelty against a companion animal.
(A) (1) “Companion animal” means any animal that is kept inside a residential dwelling and any dog
or cat regardless of where it is kept, including a pet store as defined in section 956.01 of the Revised Code.
“Companion animal” does not include livestock or any wild animal.