To the editor:

I want to send a shout of appreciation to Kenneth Hughes, Noble County’s plan director, and other officials and volunteers from our communities, for working hard to bring Noble County’s Comprehensive Plan and Unified Ordinance into the 21st century, as well as some in our cities and towns.

For every one who chooses to speak out about the need for a “dictionary” in Noble County, there is someone like me who recognizes the unfortunate, yet obvious need for updating our ordinances. I want our county to work to eliminate blight, protect public safety, and enable law enforcement to focus on protecting us. They spend too much time chasing down the same dogs on the loose and cows in the road.

Noble County has suffered long enough from lack of adequate local oversight and education about animal welfare. According to a sheriffs' association guidance paper, published in November 2018 in Sheriff & Deputy magazine, it is important to inform officers about the dangers of animal abuse and its role as a sign of other criminal behavior. The paper also describes the need to make such crimes easier to report, investigate and prosecute.

"Concerned neighbors are more likely to report suspected animal abuse than they are to report other forms of family violence," the paper states, suggesting that officers often have much easier access to homes than social service workers. Sometimes, animal abuse is reported first, and officers might uncover violence against people in the same home.

Some may believe that residents know how long a dog leash needs to be or how to properly care for outdoor animals in inclement weather, however I believe veterinarians, supported by impartial judges, are best equipped to decide if an animal is suffering. Few residents are veterinarians or judges.

My sensibilities tell me that someone who complains about improved oversight related to animal welfare might have something to hide and may have little concern for the quality of life for anyone other than themselves. I want a high quality of life for all living beings in my community. I’ll leave it at that. It’s time for me to go hug a tree.

Lori Gagen


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