LOGAN — An order was filed in Hocking County Court of Appeals Tuesday denying a portion of the motion to dismiss a lawsuit, which was filed against the county by the Ohio Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in January, but also granting a portion of the motion.
Hocking County Commissioners filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit for failure to state a legal claim upon which relief can be granted, but the Court of Appeals of Ohio Fourth Appellate District denied only a portion of the motion.
This will still allow the OSPCA to proceed to trial in its quest to stop Hocking County Dog Warden Don Kiger from euthanizing animals via a method using a gas chamber and carbon dioxide.
Commissioners also were seeking taxpayer injunctive relief, monetary damages and attorney fees.
“Our goal is to stop the gassing and, when necessary, to have euthanasia done by lethal injection,” John Bell, who represents the OSPCA, told The Logan Daily News in a previous conversation.
This is another measure in the OSPCA’s battle to have all Ohio counties end euthanasia by gas chamber.
Ohio Revised Code Section 955.16 (f) states that “No person shall destroy any dog... By any method other than a method that immediately and painlessly renders the dog initially unconscious and subsequently dead.”
Bell told The Logan Daily News this is the reason the suit is taking place.
When asked if the commissioners had anything to say about the order of denial, president Clark Sheets Jr. referred to the county’s legal counsel and stated, “Our legal counsel is handling everything.”
The court concluded “the OSPCA has a clear legal right to compel the humane treatment of dogs under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 955, the county has a clear legal duty to employ humane methods in the destruction of dogs, and there is no other adequate legal remedy available to the OSPCA.”
However, the portion of the complaint that seeks taxpayer relief was dismissed because the court does not have original jurisdiction over taxpayer’s suits.
Finally, the court dismissed the complaint to the extent it alleges applicability or violations of the criminal provisions of ORC Chapter 959.
The court document states, “We grant in part and deny in part the defendants’ (commissioners) motion to dismiss the complaint and order the parties to proceed.”
The county’s legal counsel is Randall Lambert of Lambert Law Office, LLC, of Ironton.