The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

After shooting of dog, policy changes coming

The shooting of a dog by an on-duty police officer in the Village of Woodville is prompting village leaders to implement several changes in police department policy, Mayor Richard Harman said Tuesday.

Nearly 50 people attended Monday’s meeting of village council to voice concern over the Nov. 3 shooting of a chocolate Labrador that approached officer Steve Gilkerson who was conducting a traffic stop on U.S. 20.

The dog, named Moses, was shot in the leg the morning of Nov. 3 and has undergone extensive surgery. A review of the shooting cleared officer Gilkerson, the department’s K-9 officer, of violating any departmental policy or Ohio law.

About 50 residents crowded into council chambers in the Village of Woodville Monday night, urging council and the administration to take corrective action to prevent another shooting of a dog by a member of the police department.

Tom Bloom told council that several residents asked him to speak on their behalf and said many in the community were frustrated the initial investigation didn’t include interviews of witnesses at the scene.

“How can you submit a report clearing an officer without getting the facts from those who were there?” he asked. “This clearly shows that there was bias in the investigation. Because of this bias the citizens of this community now have lost faith and credibility in the police department.”

Costs for sidewalk banners debated by council

Talk of donated downtown sidewalk banners recently spurred an argument among two members of Oak Harbor Village Council.

The streetscape changeover to handmade, four-foot winter themed banners occurs this month. The banners are a promotion of the Oak Harbor Development Committee. Twenty-two sets were sold and are expected to be hung in November to kick off the holidays, according the committee president Mike Shadoan, who appeared before council for a committee update on Nov. 3.

Riverview Industries personnel painted snowmen and winter birds across the larger portion of the banner. Sponsor names run along the bottom.

The intent, he added, is to sell enough to be able to change out banners each season. Spring banners are on sale now, according to the committee’s Facebook page. The old version – manufactured, vinyl banners - lasted between three and five years. The news banners are expected to have the same shelf life.

A fundraiser to benefit the Tiger Ridge Exotics wild animal refuge is scheduled for Nov. 29 at the Glass City Boardwalk on East Broadway.

Ken Hetrick, owner of the refuge on Fremont Pike in Stony Ridge, has been racing the clock to bring the facility in compliance with new state regulations.

The fundraiser will be held from noon to 6 p.m. and include a spaghetti dinner, silent auctions, 50/50 raffles, music and activities for children.

An organizer of the benefit, Lauren LaRoe, Walbridge, said the community is supporting Hetrick because he’s provided a haven for animals for more than 30 years. Many of the animals are elderly, she said, and have come under Hetrick’s care from previous owners who no longer wanted them.

Donations from across the country have helped him meet costs for new fencing, insurance, permits and other requirements of the Ohio Dangerous Wild Animal Act, which bans unpermitted ownership of certain animals and reptiles after Jan. 1, 2014. The restricted list covers lions, tigers, and other “large cats”, bears, elephants, certain monkeys, rhinos, alligators, crocodiles, anacondas and pythons longer than 12 feet, certain vipers and venomous snakes.

Officials from the Ohio Department of Agriculture were expected to be at the Tiger Ridge Exotics wild animal refuge in Stony Ridge late last week to inspect the premises and determine if the owner has met state regulations for such facilities.

Erica Hawkins, a spokesperson for the department, on Thursday confirmed inspectors were to be at the site to assess the site, including the caging and care of the animals.

Owner Ken Hetrick on Wednesday said he’s been receiving funds from donors across the nation and has been racing to make the improvements required by a relatively new state law as well as purchase the needed insurance.

“We’re working every night to try to get in compliance with everything they want,” he said. “I have the signs made. I have the insurance, microchips.”

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