County Has Granted Stay Of Execution For Many Lost Pets

McCONNELSVILLE, Ohio – Action News' Scott Taylor exclusively reported last week that one Ohio county has been controlling its pet population by shooting lost animals in the head and then burying them in mass graves. The undercover investigation sparked such a widespread reaction of outrage that the county just about had no choice but to look at alternatives.

Action News has heard from people in California, North Carolina, Georgia and other locations all across the country -- Americans reacting to the kind of government policy that you would think was only in place in Third World nations.

All of the people wanted to add their voices to those already fighting to stop the shooting of dogs in Morgan County, and it now appears that Morgan County is finally listening.

Just days after Action News asked the county to stop shooting dogs, commissioners there have agreed to put the routine shootings on hold until they could do more research lethal injections, which most consider a painless and more humane method of controlling the pet population.

Later this week, the county is expected to approve the transport of some of its dogs to Cleveland, where the Animal Protective League will put them up for adoption.

Emily Matusek, who's with the Ohio Humane Education Association, has tried to rescue animals from the county's shelter in the past with little luck.

"If we had an opportunity to know about these puppies and put them up for adoption, we could have saved some," Matusek said.

Last year, the county shot at least 600 dogs. Only 16 were adopted out.

The low adoption rate might be due to the fact that the county animal shelter has no signs and no posted hours.

"The public hours are after 4 p.m. in the evening," Morgan County Commissioner Ron Moore said. "I don't think they are posted. We did have a sign at one time, but somebody took it."

The county had justified the violent policy of shooting pets by saying that it's cheap, but now it appears they might come to the conclusion that they could afford more humane alternatives after all. On Thursday, they will likely vote on whether to stop the shootings for good.

If you would still like to apply some pressure on Morgan County before this week's vote, you could contact Morgan County Commissioner Ron Moore at (740) 962-3183. You could also send him a message via e-mail at