Belmont County Animal Shelter Volunteer Wants to Return
Jodi Apitzsch, a longtime volunteer at the Belmont County Animal Shelter, said she was told her services were no longer wanted because she went uninvited onto private property in Flushing to provide supplies for two neglected dogs.
Apitzsch is asking the Belmont County Board of Commissioners to reconsider the matter, which members addressed during their Wednesday meeting. She was not present, but guests included Frank Pepini, who spoke to the board on Apitzsch’s behalf.
“She’s a 10-year volunteer at the animal shelter, and the dog warden out there terminated her, said they no longer need her services,” Pepini said. “They approached an abandoned house, her and her husband, in Flushing, where they were told there were two dogs being abused and left out in the cold. They went on the property and put two boxes of straw for the dogs to lay.”
In an email to the commissioners, Apitzsch said the Ohio Revised Code permits any person to enter a place where an animal is confined without food, water and attention and supply such necessities to the animal.
“She put up a website for (the shelter). She put pictures on it,” Pepini said. “She just wants to be a volunteer again. That’s all she wants. She wants some resolution to this soon, because she wants to go back to the shelter.”
Apitzsch could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
“We spoke with our dog warden yesterday. At this point we’re kind of gathering information,” Commissioner J.P. Dutton said.
“The email came in on Monday. That matter is being handled with our (Human Resources) Department,” Commissioner Mark Thomas said. “We haven’t had a chance to look at it.”
Thomas faces an indictment in Ohio County on a felony embezzlement charge unrelated to his work as a county commissioner.
Thomas said the commissioners normally allow the shelter to operate autonomously, and the situation is complicated by involving a volunteer rather than a paid employee.
Lisa Williams, dog warden, declined to comment.