Pit bull kills still high in Lucas County

Julie Lyle

Dozens of pit bulls in Lucas County are being euthanized every week, despite what some thought was going to be a change with the introduction of a new dog warden.

The policy couldn't be more different between former Lucas County Dog Warden Tom Skeldon and current warden Julie Lyle. Skeldon didn't give orphan pit bulls a chance at survival, while Lyle believes no dog is inherently vicious.

NBC24 tracked down the numbers that show Lyle is trying to adopt out more pit bulls, but that she still has a long way to go to reach her goals.

Nearly four months ago, Lyle promised to try to reduce the number of pit bulls that get put to sleep in Lucas County. Her predecessor, Skeldon, had been accused of killing too many pit bulls and Lyle came into town on a mission to cut back.

A little digging into the numbers shows that pit bull euthanizations have gone down slightly since Lyle began her position. When comparing June of 2010 to the same month last year (under Skeldon's leadership) the number of pit bulls put down dropped by a total of 35.

Part of the reason in the drop has to do with a difference in policy. Instead of following Skeldon's path of euthanizing every ownerless pit bull that came into the dog pound, Lyle is putting the dogs through behavior tests and working with the Humane Society to adopt out those dogs that pass evaluations.

"We're trying to recruit more partners that we can transfer pit bulls to safety," said Lyle. "(Partners) that are going to be able to place them in good homes."

Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop was a strong advocate for removing Skeldon from his job last year and replacing him with Lyle, but the fact remains that a lot of pit bulls are currently dying at the hands of the current warden's office. Since May of this year through the end of July, 133 pit bulls were put down in Lucas County.

Both Lyle and Konop say it's still going to take time to see those numbers drop significantly. "Too many dogs are still getting euthanized," said Konop. "I think, Ms. Lyle and myself would like to see every potentially adopted dog adopted out, regardless of breed."

Lyle says she simply deals with whatever dogs they get in to the dog pound, and right now, they are still getting a lot of pit bulls.

Former dog warden Tom Skeldon says he is not surprised at the number of euthanizations still taking place. He says that is just the reality of the job.