Dog warden learns the hard way importance of keeping tags on pets

LISBON – Columbiana County Dog Warden Dawn Croft has always encouraged the public to contact her office if they come across a stray dog, regardless of whether it is wearing a tag or not, a message that hit home after her own dog went missing recently.

Croft, who lives off state Route 46 in Unity Township, said her beloved Walker coonhound named Web escaped from his kennel on Nov. 13 and remains missing, despite posting 400 flyers posted around the county.

While Web is licensed, Croft left the dog tag off his collar because it often gets snagged by the kennel and in the brush when he is hunting, creating a potential safety issue. She said Web was wearing a collar telling whoever finds him to call, but the number is her old cell phone number.

“If only I had practiced what I preached to everyone. I can kick myself for every day he’s gone,” Croft said.

The law requires current dog tags to be displayed, something Croft is obviously well aware of as dog warden, and she concedes having the tag attached might have helped in finding her dog, depending on the circumstances.

“Technically, the tags are supposed to be on display, but many people don’t because they get caught on things,” Croft said, adding her staff gives people some leeway as long as their dog is licensed, depending on the circumstances.

She is concerned someone has come across Web believing he is a stray, despite the collar, and adopted him as their own. Croft said anyone who finds what appears to be a stray dog should still check with the dog pound to determine if anyone is missing their pet, regardless of whether they have a collar or tag. People should report their missing dog to the dog pound for the very same reason.

“I want people to understand if a dog is running around without a collar or tag – because sometimes the collars can come off too – that doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong to someone,” Croft said. “They shouldn’t assume it’s a stray.”

Web has two black oval-shaped patches on the side of his head, along with a scar across the nose.