County fair visitors pose with puppies at Barnyard Babyland. (DHI Media/Ed Gebert)
County fair visitors pose with puppies at Barnyard Babyland. (DHI Media/Ed Gebert)

VAN WERT — As county officials continue to work through details related to changes with the dog warden position, a caution has already been extended to Van Wert County residents — If you have a dog, make sure you have dog tags.

“Tag enforcement, tag checks, something we’re going to work toward is making sure people have those tags,” warned Van Wert County Sheriff Tom Riggenbach.

“It’s a contract with the public that we’re going to start enforcing,” stated Commissioner Todd Wolfrum. He also noted that those who have been buying dog tags as required will get the next year’s tag for one dollar off this time around.

Part of the stressed enforcement effort is for those people who have complied year after year, buying dog tags and supporting the enforcement of animal laws through having a dog warden in the county. Upcoming changes in the dog warden position are not yet finalized, but the new arrangement will certainly add additional expense for the county. Official are hoping to recoup some of those funds by getting full cooperation from dog owners and from fines levied against violators.

Current plans would call for the dog warden duties to be assigned to the Sheriff’s Office with one of the deputies serving as a full-time officer and possibly a second officer being brought in as an assistant. Former Van Wert County Dog Warden Rich Strunkenberg was fired by the commissioners on July 31 for failing to care for the animals in the kennel facility on Bonnewitz Ave. in Van Wert.

Tags can be purchased at the County Auditor’s Office in the Courthouse and at selected locations around the county.