YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Deputy dog warden Dave Nelson was stabbed on the job July 20 responding to a call. A few days later, they posted on their Facebook page looking for employees – but it had nothing to do with Nelson’s time off to recover.
“Dave [Nelson] is off right now but we fully believe he’ll be back soon, I think Dave gets bored when he’s not working,” said Mahoning County dog warden Dianne Fry.
They’ve needed extra hands for quite some time.
“We’ve had people quit, they don’t realize what it is. This is a real specialized thing, you have to want to do this,” Fry said.
There is a part-time and full-time position they’re looking to fill and their staff of nine is running tight.
“It is important to keep our numbers up because we are a 24/7 facility also,” Fry said.
There are some dangers to the job, but Fry said that case is extremely rare and had never happened in Nelson’s 25 years on the job.
“Usually the biggest threat is from the dogs themselves. You’re new to them, you’re putting them in a van,” Fry said.
Safety is their number one priority when going on a call.
“We will call whatever jurisdiction we’re in, we will call for police backup. We also work with Animal Charity pretty closely,” Fry said.
She called the job a specialized niche, one that you need a decent driving record for and a GED or high school diploma.
“You could be in the kennel, you could be out on the road with calls, which could be anything from a confined stray to someone who was bitten,” Fry said.
The rewards – those are evident when Fry interacts with her own dog.
“You have to care about animals, you wanna make a difference,” Fry said.
“People care now, they want to see those dogs adopted, they want to see them taken care of properly and so we’ve tried to meet that need and do the best we can,” Fry said.
Applications are open until August 5. If you just want to help out, they do accept volunteers and their dog walking program is coming back up as well.