Medina County pet owner warns others after dog killed by neighbor's electric fence around garden

SHARON TOWNSHIP, Ohio - A Medina County family is heartbroken after their 2-year-old chocolate Labrador Retriever wandered onto a neighbor's property and was killed by an electric fence surrounding a garden.

"Not for the life of me did I ever think 150-feet through these woods would be some sort of jerry-rigged death trap," said Doug Wigton, the owner of "Henry" who died on his second birthday.

Wigton said it was not uncommon for his dog with "quirky characteristics" to disappear into the woods behind the family's home in Sharon Township.

However, on July 13, Henry ventured into the wooded area, and a few minutes later, Doug and others heard a yelp.

The family and some neighbors quickly put together a search team, crawled through a fence onto a property on Boneta Road and eventually discovered the dog dead on an electric wire.

Wigton was stunned the line was powerful enough to kill his 75-pound dog and he continues to worry that someone else could be seriously hurt by the fence.

"If it was a child, it would be different. If it was them, if it was their nieces or nephews or kids," Wigton said.

The property owner, Henry Ritz, 93, said the fence has been up "forever" and he uses it to keep raccoons and possums away from his vegetable garden.

He told NewsChannel5 he feels horrible about what happened to the dog.

"I sure didn't like it. I didn't mean to kill no dog," Ritz said.

He said he will consider turning off the fence for good, and instead, use a radio to scare animals away.

Medina County deputies determined Ritz has the right to have the electric fence on his property and didn't commit a crime.

Wigton realizes he has a personal responsibility in this sad case.

"I absolutely understand it is my responsibility to keep control of my dog. I understand that. I get it. Our dog pretty much was under control. It did slip away for a minute and we were pretty much on him."

Wigton said his family is struggling to cope with the loss of a pet that brought the family together. He's hoping their tragedy can serve as a warning. He wants other people to be aware of possible dangers in their neighborhoods.

"Just take a look around. Do you know what's in your neighborhood?"


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