Pledge would help dog pound expand

By Peter H. Milliken


A Boardman philanthropist has pledged to give $100,000 toward the planned Mahoning County dog pound expansion if the county commissioners will commit $400,000 in public monies toward the project.

“I love animals. Tony and I think we would like to make the living conditions at the pound better for the animals there,” Mary Lariccia of Boardman said Wednesday, referring to her husband, Tony.

“An animal has no voice. Somebody has to think of them,” added Mrs. LaRiccia, who also is a donor to Angels for Animals and Animal Charity.

The Lariccias donated $50,000 a year for salary and benefits to keep a humane-agent employed at Animal Charity.

Matt Ditchey, county dog warden, hopes ground can be broken next spring for a $715,000 expansion of the county dog pound, 589 Industrial Road, that will provide more space for dogs and people.

Rather than the current system, in which dogs are confined in cages, the expansion would allow dogs to live in kennels.

Most of the 55 new individual kennels would be 31/2 to 4 feet wide, 14 feet long and 6 feet high with a cover. Half of the 14 feet would be indoors and half outdoors, Ditchey said.

John A. McNally IV, chairman of the county commissioners, said the commissioners recognize the need for more pound space and that the commissioners met with Ditchey and Olsavsky-Jaminet Architects to view pound expansion plans about two months ago.

Ditchey said he hopes to fund the project through a combination of local public money, private donations and grants from the state or federal governments or from animal-welfare organizations.

Ditchey said the project could be funded in part from the county’s dog and kennel fund, which is derived from fines for dog-law violations and from dog license and adoption fees.

That fund, which is dedicated solely for the use of the dog warden’s office, now contains $917,425, according to the county auditor’s office.

An Ohio Attorney General’s opinion requested by the Richland County Prosecutor’s office said Ohio law permits county commissioners to use the county dog and kennel fund to pay for dog-pound expansion and renovation.

Besides the new kennels, the planned expansion here would provide a new service-counter area to facilitate dog adoptions and dog-license purchases; a conference room; a handicapped-accessible restroom; an isolation room for dogs that may be ill; a euthanasia room; storage space; a dog-bathing area; a separate area for mother dogs and their puppies; and two enclosed outdoor play areas for the dogs.

The pound will have another dog adopt-a-thon from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 15. Fifteen dogs were adopted at the pound’s July 30 adopt-a-thon.

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