AR-News: AR NEWS: Groups see increase in abandoned, neglected animals

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Sat Sep 6 12:03:45 EDT 2003


http://www.thestarpress.com/articles/0/005222-6190-004.html
By KEITH ROYSDON
kroysdon at thestarpress.com 
MUNCIE - As a proposal for an animal shelter to serve rural areas of Delaware 
County remains in limbo, leaders of local humane groups say incidents of 
animal dumping and abuse are increasing.
"We are getting tons and tons of calls about neglect, simply because there's 
nowhere else for people to call," said Lisa Rich of Helping Animals Receive 
Mercy (HARM).
Rich said local groups were also concerned about an increase in the 
seriousness of animal abuse allegations.
"The calls are increasing, and they're getting worse," she said.
The Star Press recently received a call from a man reporting an incident in 
which a Yorktown-area teenager dragged a sheep to death behind an all-terrain 
vehicle.
Shelter services for strays found in rural areas are currently being handled 
by the Muncie Animal Shelter, which has a $4,000-a-month contract with the 
county commissioners. For in-the-field animal control, however, the county pays 
the city an extra fee of $50 an hour.
Mayor Dan Canan has said that after the end of the year, he won't continue 
animal-control-for-hire duties. But Delaware County Council members said this 
week they wouldn't even discuss appropriating $400,000 for a joint shelter until 
January.
In the meantime, private humane groups say they are overloaded and plagued by 
the dumping of animals along county roads and at shelters.
"In less than two weeks, we've had 14 animals dumped here," said Terri Panszi 
of Animal Rescue Fund (ARF).
"We just had 24 calls today, 13 of which are county people who have found 
animals," Panszi added. "I was listening to voice mail messages and a lady pulled 
up and left two kittens in a garbage can on our front porch."
ARF's two facilities are full with more than 70 cats and 40 dogs, Panszi said.
HARM - which works with a city police officer to investigate abuse and 
neglect incidents reported to 254-HARM (4267) - receives six to eight calls a day, 
Rich said.
"Many of the calls we're getting is animals out in the county without houses 
and without proper food and water," Rich said. "Animal control should educate 
the owner and the problem would be solved. But the problem is, there is no one 
to do that."
Commissioner Larry Crouch said it was "a little bit distressful that I'm not 
making any headway."
"I haven't been able to get anybody on the council interested in [looking at 
city shelter operations]," Crouch said. "It's a sad situation."
Contact news reporter Keith Roysdon at 213-5828.
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