Investigators believe they know the identity of at least one person who illegally dumped animals outside the Bartholomew County Humane Society.
That’s the word from Terry Turner, a former Bartholomew County Animal Control officer who is now customer care manager for the Humane Society.
Surveillance cameras were used to identify at least one person who dumped five pit bull-mix puppies at the front door of the society’s animal shelter at 4415 E. County Road 200S, Turner said.
The puppies were estimated at about 5 weeks old, which Turner says is too young to be taken away from their mother. The small dogs were discovered lying in their own waste in a cardboard box with no blankets, he said.
“This was really cruel,” Turner said in regard to abandoning puppies in the December cold. “The puppies are the sweetest little things you’ve ever seen.”
Deputies with the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department have told Turner they expected to turn over their findings and evidence to the county prosecutor’s office for consideration of charges, he said. Those who abandon animals can be fined up to $100.
According to the surveillance video, the puppies were abandoned shortly before 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec 3. All persons associated with the shelter had already gone home for the day, so the puppies were not found until Monday.
In November, there were two other cases of animals being abandoned outside the shelter. The first incident involved kittens left outside on Nov. 8. The second, caught on surveillance video, shows an injured dog, as well as a small number of puppies, were abandoned in a hard-to-see area outside the shelter on Nov. 27.
The staff wasn’t even aware the dogs were there until days later, on Dec. 1, Turner confirmed.
Efforts to find foster homes and animal rescue groups willing to take in some of the 11 abandoned animals have only had limited success at best, he said.
While Turner said he witnessed unbelievable cruelty while serving as an animal control officer, he believes he know why people are abandoning their pets and their offspring.
“It’s due to the economic situation we are all in,” Turner said. “I get calls every day from people who say they can no longer afford their pets.”
But there is a better alternative than abandoning cats and dogs that involves accepting free food from the shelter, he said.
“Nine times out of 10, they said that’s great and will continue to feed them,” Turner said. “But we just can’t take in more animals right now because we’re over capacity.”