BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — With more and more dog owners walking the streets of Maumee with their pets these days, maintaining safety protocol is more important than ever.
For the owner of a small, elderly dog, a casual walk one recent afternoon took an unfortunate turn when a large, aggressive dog pounced on it unexpectedly, causing fatal injuries. The owner, who did not want to be identified, said it happened very quickly when the larger dog came up from behind.
“I just want to warn people,” the Maumee resident said. “You have got to keep your animals under control, especially with so many people out walking now.”
Maumee animal control officer Ken Streichert said that dog owners need to be responsible and respectful when they are walking their dogs, which means being aware of surroundings and having control of a dog at all times.
“I’m seeing more dogs than I ever have. I didn’t realize that there were that many dogs in the city of Maumee,” he said.
Not all dogs are dog-friendly.
“Owners may think they are, but you never know. A dog’s behavior can change. They have attitudes like humans,” Streichert added.
Under Ohio law, a dog is declared dangerous if it causes injury to another dog or a human. The penalty for failing to properly confine and control a dangerous dog is a fourth-degree misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $250 and 30 days of imprisonment. Subsequent offenses are considered a third-degree misdemeanor and carry a fine of up to $500 and 60 days of imprisonment.
Owners also need to make sure doors are closed and fences are secure, so that pets don’t get out, and that pets have a proper license. When out walking a dog, Streichert also said to “scoop the poop” out of respect for neighbors.
In addition to keeping pets safe while walking, Streichert also reminds pet owners to remain vigilant while driving with pets in cars, especially while leaving them inside a car. If the temperature is a mild 70 degrees outside, it can reach 89 degrees inside a car within 10 minutes and 104 degrees in 30 minutes.
“Dogs die every summer in minutes because air temperature in closed cars can be deadly,” he said.
Streichert has worked for the city of Maumee for 16 years. Prior to that, he worked for the Ohio Division of Wildlife. He holds an associate degree in wildlife management.
While he does not respond to citizen calls regarding wildlife unless there is a direct threat, he works to educate the public on how to properly co-exist with wildlife, including deer, coyotes and turkeys.
“The wildlife were here first and we just have to co-exist with them,” he said. “I love Maumee, I love the citizens of Maumee, I grew up in Maumee and I just want to serve and protect my community. It’s a great town to work in.”