KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — The lack of an animal control officer in Kosciusko County raises questions as to who to contact regarding issues relating to animals.
Jerry Clase, the long-time animal control officer, retired Oct. 11 after almost 30 years. Efforts to fill that position are underway.
The questions came to light earlier in the week after a resident of Enchanted Hills posted a video showing a neighbor’s son getting off the school bus and walking straight back to taunt a dog that has been kept in an uncleaned cage for at least four days, allegedly with no shelter. Other dogs can be seen in the video running freely in the yard. The neighbor who posted the video said she contacted the sheriff’s department and was told the county did not have an animal control officer.
Contact was also going to be made to the Animal Welfare League of Kosciusko County and PETA for help.
Contact was made with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office inquiring what residents should do during this time period when no animal control officer is available. Chris Francis, public information officer, provided information along with some details about the alleged abuse case in Enchanted Hills.
Francis noted the department is aware of the Enchanted Hills situation. “The case is being reviewed right now,” Francis said. Detectives have been at the residence in question twice, they have possession of a video taken and witness statements. Officers will take the information and pass on to the prosecutor’s office, where sometimes the matter stops.
Regarding other animal-related cases in the county?
“We are responding to animal abuse or neglect calls,” Francis stated, which is nothing new as officers were involved through an investigative side in the past. “We will still respond to traffic hazards of animals out running in the roadway and allegations of abuse or neglect. They will get a law enforcement officer, from whatever jurisdiction since there is not an actual county animal control officer.”
“People need to pick up the phone and call and file a report the right way,” he stressed, instead of taking the matter to social media.
As for other animal issues, Francis said residents need to contact a private animal control company, such as Critter Control, for nuisance animals and things of that nature.