ETNA GREEN — An arrest warrant has been issued for an Etna Green woman who claimed Kosciusko County Animal Control Officer Jerry Clase improperly shot and killed her dog without her permission.
Sherry L. Koser, 45, 115 N. Walnut St., Etna Green, is charged with cruelty to an animal, a class A misdemeanor.
The move comes months after Koser complained about circumstances in which animal control officer Jerry Clase chose to kill the ill dog. Clase was later suspended.
On June 17, an officer with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office received a text message from Sherri Shafer asking if the sheriff’s office could do anything about putting down a dying dog at a residence. Shafer said the dog had a bleeding tumor and had also tried biting people.
According to court documents, Shafer said the dog, a 14-year-old boxer named Daisy, was found at one of her rental properties in Etna Green. She also said a deputy with the KCSO had gone to the residence the day before, but was unable to make contact with Koser. The officer told Shafer to contact Animal Control in regards to the matter.
On June 16, a sheriff’s deputy went to the residence after a complaint from a man who lived in the upstairs portion of the residence. The man told officers his downstairs neighbors had a dog that was aggressive and had a foul odor. He requested officers check on the dog’s condition.
The deputy went to the residence and saw a couch in the front porch area. According to the deputy, the couch was covered in hundreds of flies and had fresh blood on the cushions. The deputy said the odor was overwhelming to the point that he had to exit the porch to avoid becoming sick. While at the residence, the deputy located Daisy in the residence’s garage. He manually closed the garage door to secure the dog and keep her away from the public.
On July 18, officers spoke with Shafer. Shafer told officers that on June 16, she received a message from a tenant regarding Koser’s dog. The message read, “This smelly dog is at the front door and won’t move. Every time we try and move it, it tries to bite us. It’s stinking up the whole porch, it smells like death and there’s blood everywhere.” Shafer then said she received another message from the tenant about speaking with Koser about the dog.
According to court documents, Koser told the tenant that she didn’t have the money to put the dog down. Shafer told officers that on June 19, after Clase took Daisy, Koser later contacted her about the dog’s whereabouts. Once Shafer told Koser that Clase took the dog, Koser immediately asked if she was going to be in trouble, according to court paperwork.
Officers spoke with the tenant who messaged Shafer. The tenant said the dog laid in front of the only door available for her and her husband to enter their apartment. She told officers that the dog was aggressive and would growl at anyone getting close to it. The tenant said the dog had an open tumor on its stomach area and had such a foul odor that it was overwhelming to be near the dog. She told officers the dog had been in this condition for at least two weeks before her husband contacted the sheriff’s office about the incident.
Koser told the tenant that Shafer was coming to the residence in a week to pay for the dog to be put down. According to the tenant, the dog was a house dog up until the time the dog started becoming an issue.
She said Koser started letting the dog outside when the tumor became open and started leaking fluid and blood.
On July 18, officers were approached by a former tenant of the upstairs apartment. The tenant said she wanted to give a statement about the dog and Koser. According to court documents, the tenant said Koser was often drunk or high on drugs. During the time she resided at the apartment, the former tenant said the dog did not appear to have been taken care of since it would bark constantly while inside the house and was very aggressive when it was outside.
In the past month, officers have attempted to talk with Koser regarding the incident but were unable to contact her.
A warrant for Koser’s arrest was issued on Friday, Sept. 20.
Koser’s initial complaints led to an investigation by the county into Clase’s handling of the situation and sparked protests calling for Clase to be removed from his role as an animal control officer.
Clase was suspended for five days and the county revised its animal control ordinance.