Animal activists vent frustrations to Bartholomew County Commissioners

Local animal abuse opponents sought clarification from Bartholomew County officials on who makes the decision to return an animal to an abusive home. That comes after the death of a dog removed several times from a home over three years.

The dog named Thor was removed from a home for a final time last month after ongoing complaints from neighbors of lack of shelter, medical care and food, but soon after died from cancer, according to the activists. But the animal supporters asked the Bartholomew County Commissioners and Animal Control Officer Mark Case to explain how the decision was made to return the dog to the home previously.

Case said that in one incident the dog was returned after the prosecutor’s office declined to press charges against the owner but he did not know the exact circumstances or number of times the dog had previously been removed and returned.

Case said there is a process of escalating warnings, citations and fines the department uses to try to get compliance. And the department tries to educate owners, but sometimes that takes hold and sometimes it doesn’t, Case said. County Commissioner Tony London pointed out that in Indiana animals are considered personal property, giving owners leeway in how animals are treated.

Commissioners President Larry Kleinhenz said the abuse all stems from an inability to make people do the right thing.