National magazine honors local dog shelter

The good and bad of being a rural county dog warden

By Nelson Prater - Fayette County Dog Warden

Fayette County Dog Warden Nelson Prater

Fayette County Dog Warden Nelson Prater

Courtesy photo

Editor’s note: The Fayette County Dog Shelter was originally honored with this article in the fall edition of the national magazine “Animal Care & Control Today.” It is a quarterly magazine published by the National Animal Care & Control Association. It contains articles addressing issues of interest to its members and others concerned with the ongoing Animal/Human relationship and associated problems.

Animal control can be a different story for each rural community and urban city. Due to large populations in cities, the work is much different from us in the countryside.

Looking at both is like comparing apples to oranges. Both rural and urban communities have similarities but many differences in the perceptions of animal control. Officers are faced with the same type of hypothetical situations but are exposed to different training, routines and environmental factors.

Fayette County, Ohio is nestled in the south central part of the state. It is a rural, close-knit county of 29,000 people and premium farmland that produces corn and soybeans.

The two-county dog wardens and a part-time employee work under the direction of Sheriff Vernon Stanforth. We are responsible for 407 square miles, respond to calls from dogs running at large, dog bites, and complaints of animals killed by coyotes or other wild animals.

Like Fayette County, many small and rural county shelters depend on dog license fees to operate their budgets. Unfortunately, with limited funding to buy state of the art equipment often found in larger county shelters, we have to improvise, but we get the job done. With the limited staff, we had to develop particular skill sets to deal with the various calls for service within the community.

Fortunately, working for a supportive sheriff in a small rural county allows us to know the community we serve. Our strong working community relationship has helped us have an animal-friendly community.

We have created partnerships with our residents to provide the needed emergency fostering care and adoption resources for a healthier and friendly animal community. Additionally, the cooperative partnerships we have with a local business has allowed us to keep an ongoing supply of dog supplies and food for the shelter.

We are also fortunate to have strong business partners in our county that have continuously supported our shelter and operation. By working together with our community, we have created a safe and friendly environment for unwanted and stray dogs hoping they will find their forever homes.

Fayette County Dog Warden Nelson Prater County Dog Warden Nelson Prater Courtesy photo
The good and bad of being a rural county dog warden

By Nelson Prater

Fayette County Dog Warden