ANDERSON, Ind. —
She points to Donner, a pit-mix who was used as a bait dog for dog fighting. Or Beebee, a dog who came in with two other dogs, and tested heartworm positive. There’s the tiny nameless dog who just arrived that can’t walk, with severely overgrown nails, too terrified to emerge from his carrier.
“What it boils down to, it’s the fact that they don’t want the animal anymore,” said Stringer. She doesn’t mince words. “We have a segment of this community that is irresponsible.”
“I want something that’s going to punish people that are neglecting animals and are abusing animals,” said Stringer. She noted, “We need to get a handle on these backyard pit breeders.”
Animal calls represent a significant percentage of the 45,000 total incidents to which city police respond in a year.
“I love animals, but there’s a lot of them,” said City of Anderson police chief Larry Crenshaw. “We have a large volume of calls.” Crenshaw said that animal calls are likely to exceed 5,000 this year. Many of those calls are for stray animals, others may be for abuse or neglect.
“We were chasing a goose with an arrow in it for I don’t know how long,” said Crenshaw. Another recent call involved two dogs left to die tied to the railroad tracks.
A typical day last week included 35 animal-related calls. “Not an unusual day,” said Crenshaw.
The solution is not clear. Animal ordinances such as Stringer suggests can be met with opposition, even from animal lovers.
If ordinances are passed, it’s still difficult to give animal issues priority in the context of major crime.
Noting that crime is not just in one part of the city anymore, Crenshaw said, “Ordinances are only as effective as you can administer the ordinance.”