From Lancaster Eagle-Gazette
Published January 5, 2012
WAVERLY -- The Pike County dog warden is facing animal cruelty charges after live puppies were found in a bag at the pound Tuesday.
Randy Mustard is set to be arraigned on 11 counts of animal cruelty, all first-degree misdemeanors, at 9 a.m. Monday in Pike County Court. Mustard confirmed Wednesday he has been suspended, effective today, from his dog warden job pending the outcome of the case. He's been employed as a warden for nearly a decade.
The charges stem from a complaint made Tuesday to the Pike County Sheriff's Office. Maj. Jeremy Masters said a man and woman had been at the pound, located off Alma Omega Road, looking for a dog when they heard whimpering coming from a trash bag.
Masters responded to the scene and said they found an adult female dog dead inside the bag, one dead puppy and 10 live puppies who were young enough their eyes hadn't opened yet.
During his investigation, Masters said he spoke with an employee who had been placed through Job and Family Services to work at the shelter and had no formal training. The man allegedly told Masters the mother dog had died and Mustard told him to "bag them up" and throw them out, including the puppies. He alleged Mustard never administered a lethal injection to euthanize the puppies, Masters said.
Mustard told the sheriff's office and CentralOhio.com on Wednesday that he had administered the lethal injection to the puppies and told the employee not to discard them until they had died.
Mustard provided CentralOhio.com with a copy of a kennel card he said was made when the dog and her 11 puppies were dropped at the pound Monday. According to the card, a Beaver man had dropped off the dogs and indicated they were strays.
Mustard said he was off that day but was called when the mother dog died. He said she was extremely skinny and was not in good condition. He said he gave orders for the dog to be placed in a bag and put outside until it could be disposed of at the landfill, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's approved disposal method.
On Tuesday, Mustard said he looked at the puppies and determined he did not think they would survive and administered the lethal injection.
"I told one of the workers, I said don't put them in the bag until they pass away," Mustard said.
After the sheriff's office arrived and the puppies were discovered, Mustard said they placed them back into cages until they died. Mustard said he sent the employee home because "I don't want him here if he's going to do that."
"I'm the boss. I'm in charge, so someone has to take the blame," Mustard said.
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Jo Ann's comments...
This article is a constant reminder of the mentality of the majority of Dog Wardens throughout our entire country.
Now, yes... there are a few really great people who occupy these positions and some are even right here in Ohio. Unfortunately, Randy Mustard does not seem to be one of them.
For the most part, any animal unfortunate enough to find themselves in a pound during a holiday (and especially those that involve long weekends) are basically doomed. The Warden and staff simply do not want to be bothered with coming back to the shelter to care for the animals left there. So, unless rescues can be found, the Wardens will do a mass euthanization which insures a nice long, relaxing holiday weekend.
Even though most of these pounds have volunteers who would gladly go in to care and feed, they are usually locked out and not allowed back in the building until the next open day for business.
It's sad enough that these Dog Wardens continue the practice of mass euthanization during holidays, but Mr. Mustard has definitely crossed over the line with the inhumane treatment 10 puppies.
Can you even begin to imagine the terror these little babies went through by being shoved in a bag with their dead mother and another dead puppy, and then thrown in a dumpster outside in freezing weather?
They were so young that their little eyes weren't even open yet.
Although Mr. Mustard is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law, it is still his responsibility to see that proper methods of euthanization are followed. It is also his responsibility to hire qualified people to work in a pound environment and make sure all procedures are followed correctly.
Sometimes, I honestly believe that the only qualifications for being hired as a Dog Warden or pound worker is to be just plain stupid, and totally void of common sense and compassion, and apparently a mean streak seems to be an added plus.
It's bad enough to do mass euthanizations but to not do it properly is inexcusable and certainly not humane.
Now, as I said before, we do have some GOOD Dog Wardens. Unfortunately, we just don't have enough of them.
Regardless if Mr. Mustard is found guilty or innocent, he should not be allowed to resume his position as Dog Warden in Pike County. It's apparent that he was more concerned with his Christmas holiday than doing his job and making sure these animals were humanely euthanized before being stuffed in a bag and thrown in a dumpster. After all, he was the one in charge and, as the old saying goes.... "the buck stops here".