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Athens County Commissioners Charlie Adkins discuss issues during a meeting on September 20 at the Athens County Board of Elections. (DAWN JACOB | FOR THE POST)

County Commissioners: Residents could face fines for false alarms calls to Humane Society

Athens County might soon impose a fine on those who cry wolf to the Humane Society.

Bud Bucher, an officer at the Humane Society, told the Athens County Commissioners on Tuesday that the department has fielded multiple false alarms alleging animals had been neglected in recent years. Last year, he responded to a call of dying dogs with no food, shelter and water. Upon arrival, he discovered what he described as "the best set up I've ever seen in my entire life."

"I think the problem was the (dog owner) just moved there," Bucher said. "He had lived there for three weeks ... it was just a noise issue. They was just trying to get the guy in trouble."

That wasn't the only false alarm Bucher has been called to. On Nov. 7, Bucher fielded a complaint of a horse being mistreated. 

"I've been there a couple times, there's nothing wrong with (the horse)," Bucher said. "He's thin, but he's 39 years old."

Commissioner Chris Chmiel suggested the county could curb false accusations by imposing a fine, similar to a $30 inspection fee in place at the Athens Farmers Market. 

"If there's a vendor that says 'This other guy's not really growing his food' ... you have to put $30 on the table to go and accuse this person," Chmiel said.

Ultimately, the decision on whether false alarms should be a punishable act will be decided by Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn, commissioner Lenny Eliason said.

The commissioners also heard a request from Waterloo Township Parks and Recreation to construct a fence around a park located on Railroad Street to prevent vehicles from driving onto areas that have been leveled and reseeded.

"The problem is that they're driving off the roads and into the park," Lena Osborne, a representative from Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action, said.

The commissioners agreed to return to the topic next week if Osborne presented a formal proposal.

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