BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) — Belmont County citizens are taking to to get their concerns over the high number of animals being killed at the Belmont County Animal Shelter heard.

The petition, has 1,658 signatures at the time of publication.

The petition expresses the community’s outrage at the “apparent lack of cooperation and disregard for animal welfare” the current Dog Warden Lisa Duvall has shown. It also alleges that her behavior has led to an alarming number of preventable animal deaths.

The petition also calls for an investigation into the allegation against Duvall and calls for all responsible parties to be held accountable for their actions.

Petition signer Eric Crook stated, “I’ve donated thousands to this animal shelter over the past 4 years to both dogs and cats. The idea that they are turning down adoptions, taking money for those adoptions, and euthanizing those animals, turning down volunteers, turning down volunteer dog trainers fosters, and not doing what they can to promote adoptions of the animals they are euthanizing turns my stomach. Valerie’s story is particularly disheartening. She should have had a forever home. There’s no excuse for any of it. If they are so worried about safety and liability, then make people sign contracts that will relieve the shelter of any liability. Give people the information about the animal and let them decide if they are willing to take the risks if there are any.”

Another signer, Becky Bean, wrote, “What is happening at this shelter is nothing short of murder. The commissioners refuse to do anything about it and let this woman continue to kill innocent animals. Both cats and dogs. She refuses adopters, volunteers, and REAL rescues who have offered help several times. Countless animals have died on her watch. It’s truly disturbing. She hoards these animals, and she needs to be fired immediately.”

Sandy Lewis wrote, “It just sickens me that a person can euthanize 6 dogs but euthanize 6 dogs that had sponsors. People wanted to adopt these dogs, and they paid the adoption fee. They could have been in a wonderful home right now, but instead, they were murdered by the warden!! She didn’t even give the sponsors back their money! What kind of a person does this? A very sick one !! R.I.P sweet babies! We won’t forget you.”

Since the petition was created, Belmont County Commissioners has held a special town hall meeting on November 8, but the community did not get all the answers to their questions.

Commissioner Jerry Echemann told residents that overcrowding was the cause of so many animals being euthanized. Still, Commissioner J.B. Dutton said that Belmont County was sitting below the average for Ohio, which is seven percent.

The commissioners stated that they would look into the concerns brought up by the residents but have yet to respond at the time of publication.

(Video in the story shows the top stories for Thursday, November 16, 2023)