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Mahoning Co. Dog Warden: Kennel manager improperly euthanized dogs

Rick Tunison is charged with theft, but an investigation found other issues

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) - Documents released to WKBN on Friday detail troubling accusations against the former kennel manager of the Mahoning County Dog Warden's Office. 

In June, Rick Tunison was charged with two counts of theft after investigators say he was caught on camera pocketing money paid in fees to the Dog Warden's Office. 

Internal documents from the Dog Warden's Office also note other issues with Tunison, however, including that he improperly euthanized dogs at the facility. 

Mahoning County Dog Warden Dianne Fry wrote in a notice of a pre-disciplinary hearing that Tunison had picked up a dog by the neck with a catch pole and slammed it onto the table. She said this was shown on video on June 2. 

Fry wrote that the cameras show that it took 45 minutes for the dog to die. 

Proper protocol is a five-minute time frame for euthanasia, according to the Dog Warden's Office. 

Fry wrote that during this time, Tunison went in and out of the room to keep checking whether the dog was alive. 

She also alleged that Tunison left three other dogs to die for a prolonged period of time -- one of which was left in a room for about an hour while he would routinely check on it. She said one dog was left dead in a room and was found by another kennel worker in the evening. 

Among other issues, Fry also accused Tunison of failing to feed dogs in quarantine for eight separate days, including some dogs that were left without food for a three-day period. She said he also sprayed disinfectant in their water bowls without refilling them, leaving them without clean water to drink over the weekend. 

You can read all of the allegations against Tunison here.

Tunison has pleaded not guilty to his theft and tampering with evidence charges. A jury trial is scheduled in the case for October 9. 

After being placed on leave, Tunison was fired from the Dog Warden's Office on Tuesday. 


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