Johnny Daugherty Jr. is the newest deputy humane agent working for the Fayette Regional Humane Society (FRHS).
Daugherty explained he is a 2018 graduate of Miami Trace High School and has mostly spent his life living in different areas within and around Fayette County, with his family originally from Greenfield.
Daugherty has been working with FRHS Chief Humane Agent and Outreach Director Brad Adams for approximately three months and was officially sworn in by Washington C.H. Municipal Court Judge Victor Pontious on Monday.
FRHS provides humane law enforcement for both Fayette and Ross counties. Daugherty has not yet been sworn in as an agent in Ross County, but Adams said it would be happening soon.
“I’ve always wanted to get into a law enforcement field. I have three dogs at home myself and two cats. I didn’t know there was a humane law enforcement until maybe a couple years ago, and I looked into it,” said Daugherty.
The three dogs he has at home include an English Bull Dog that is 13-years-old, a Beagle that is approximately 2-years-old, and a dog that had been a stray. The stray, when it originally showed up around his home, was taken to the Fayette County Dog Shelter but after not being claimed, he adopted it. The cats were both adopted from FRHS by his mother.
Although Daugherty was hired in June, he was unable to begin the typical training.
Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) has always provided the officer training for humane agents across the state, according to Adams. All classes for the remainder of the year had been cancelled due to COVID-19. Upon contacting OPOTA, Adams was informed that a county chief humane agent could provide one-on-one training, a licensed veterinarian could teach a portion of the class, and state subject control would need to be provided for such trainings as self-defense.
“This is the first time I have had to certify somebody,” explained Adams. “It was a little different, I’m not a teacher. I definitely respect our teachers.”
Although Adams has no intention of continuing to be the teacher for the program unless necessary, Daugherty had positive comments to say about the experience.
“I think a method of on-the-job training is very good. It gives you a view of some of the stuff you could get into, but it also gives you the view of how to talk to people and let them know that we’re here to help,” said Daugherty.
According to Adams, during the past three months Daugherty has been training in many areas including investigating animal abuse for law enforcement, rescuing animals from cruelty and disasters, field sheltering and temporary shelters, emergency shelter medicine, animal crime scenes and evidence collection, veterinary forensics for animal cruelty investigations, large scale animal cruelty and natural disasters, investigating and prosecuting bloodsports, combating dog fighting, and proactive community policing for humane agents.
In deciding if the job would be right for him, Daugherty had been doing ride-alongs with Adams to see what being a humane agent was like.
During the first ride-along, Adams explained they went to a residence in Ross County for a call pertaining to abandonment. While at the residence, there was a physical altercation that broke out between the tenant and his landlord. Adams explained he had them sit separately and called for deputies from the Ross County Sheriff’s Office.
When asked how he felt about that experience, Daugherty explained, “they just had a little argument right there and one of them decided — we don’t know which one decided, to throw a chair. We were outside, and we heard the furniture fly from the inside.”
Daugherty’s most memorable rescue was his first one. He explained they found three kittens at the bottom of a window well in one of the local churches. He ended up jumping into the window well to get them out, and then had to climb out.
“That was the first time that I could really get out there with Brad and make a difference,” said Daugherty.
The most surprising aspect to working for FRHS, according to Daugherty, is the teamwork.
“I’ve never seen anybody work as well together as they do here — everybody works as a team here, and they are all on the same page,” he said. “I kind of like to help a little bit everywhere. My primary one is I assist Brad with cruelty (cases) now. I do like to help animal care staff whenever they need. I don’t mind helping at the front desk. I’ll help housekeeping if they need it.”
“I think Johnny is doing exceptionally well. He just got sworn in (on Monday), but the entire three months he has been shadowing me and going on some on-road training,” said Adams. “I think he is perfect for this community. That’s what we need here — somebody that can be in humane law enforcement and still have the positive outlook with hopeful outcomes on every situation.”
“You’re never really prepared for what you may encounter out there,” said Daugherty. “I will be able to deal with some of the mindsets out there with some of the situations you could encounter. It’s just a manner of thinking on your feet. You don’t know what’s really going to happen until it happens.”
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.