Woman charged with animal abuse after feeding stray dog

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A woman who fed a stray dog is fined hundreds of dollars for not taking better care of it.

Debby Poulsen said she was only trying to be a Good Samaritan. She owns four pets and volunteers to feed stray cats outside her porch for Indy Feral. The animal-lover never thought she’d be accused of abusing them.

“I was in shock. I mean, I couldn’t believe it. We just tried to help,” said Poulsen. “He was outside. I knew he was hungry so I started throwing him some hot dogs and he kept eating them. Then I thought, ‘You know what? I’m going to put a can of dog food out here for him.’”

Poulsen saw the 3-year-old Collie mix roaming around her neighborhood two years ago. It stops by her house every couple of months looking for food. Last Saturday, the pup finally came close enough for Poulsen to notice something was wrong.

“It could have been an eye infection, I don’t know but his eye was gone and the whole back of his neck was raw meat,” she said.

Poulsen said the dog was wearing a steel collar that was eating into its skin. She immediately took it to the Indianapolis Animal Care and Control to get some help.

“Oh, I was sick to my stomach. I was just literally sick that someone could do that to an animal,” said Poulsen. “My only concern at that point was to try to get him help.”

Poulsen said while she was filing paperwork and writing a donation check to Animal Care & Control, she was handed four tickets for bringing in an animal without proof of rabies shots, not wearing a rabies or permanent ID tag and care and treatment.

While Poulsen maintains it is not her dog, staff at Animal Care and Control say according to law — it is.

“I mean, if you’re feeding an animal for two years, you’re obviously taking care of that animal and looking out for its best interests,” said Adam Garrett, Community Outreach Coordinator for Indianapolis Animal Care and Control.

Poulsen said animal control officers have always taken too long to rescue strays, and wanted to help the dog immediately.

“I will take a ticket and pay it rather than that dog or animal go hungry,” she said.

Poulsen and Animal Care and Control don’t want to discourage people from bringing stray animals in. If you do have any concerns, call Animal Care and Control or any other rescue organization immediately.

LINK: Information from the Indianapolis Humane Society on surrendering a pet.


  • Michael Hiland

    Another example of the state putting its boot to our neck. Sue but do it wisely. And expose like this story to shed light.

  • MyTwoCents

    Wake up Mr. Poulsen! Of course your actions in this situation are going to discourage people from bringing stray dogs to Animal Care and Control. No one will want to be fined hundreds of dollars and possibly be accused of abuse for trying to help an injured, stray animal. The key word is "stray". Exactly what law says that feeding a stray animal means that you own it? I would like to read that law. If it really exists, it needs to be repealed. Don't misunderstand me. In my opinion, Indianapolis is much, much too lax in its animal control and protection laws, but penalizing someone for trying to help an injured animal is ridiculous.

    • Animal lover

      I soo agree! This woman was doing the humane thing and she gets penalized? Come on people! What the h### is the world coming to? I commend her!!! I hope she wins in court! It’s the people that get animals and then STARVE them, BEAT them and let them roam free that need to be punished!!

  • woodsman001

    There are two issues of concern here.

    1. Any free-roaming domesticated pet has not been bred to live a life out in nature. EVERY last stray domesticated animal will eventually die an inhumane death from becoming road-kill, diseases, exposure, environmental poisons, starvation, dehydration, injuries, parasites, infections, other dog cat or animal attacks, etc., etc. Letting ANY domesticated animal roam free is the very reason we have all the laws for animal-abandonment, animal-neglect, animal-endangerment, and invasive species laws. Domesticated animals roaming free need to be humanely euthanized or they WILL face an inhumane death eventually, one way or another. People need to get the strength of heart to learn that there are far far worse things than death. Only feeding a suffering unwanted animal without providing it ALL the care and attention it needs during its whole life is one of them.

    2. This woman is bringing an even bigger danger to her community than the suffering she perpetuated on that unwanted dog.

    Stray-Cat Feeders TRAIN Feral Cats To Attack Humans

    These cat-lovers always like to claim that feral cats run away from humans, and therefore aren't the cause of all the thousands of new rabies cases.

    Google for: feral cat attack rabies

    Don't be surprised at the numbers of search-hits you get, nor the thousands of horrendous stories that go with them. The numbers of rabies cases or required rabies shots caused by feral cats have been exponentially growing as fast as the cats breed.

    These cat-feeders are TRAINING these disease-infested cats to approach humans for food. And what happens when that child (or foolish adult) doesn't have food and reaches down to "pet the cute kitty" or pick it up to try to take it home? The cat lashes out and bites or scratches the hand that has no food for them. That means MANDATORY $1000+ painful rabies shots for the child (or any adult that is just as ignorant and naive). Paid for out of their OWN pockets — because NOT ONE of these cat-feeders carries even ONE PENNY of liability insurance for the DEADLY danger they bring to their communities. Rabid cats and kittens are even being adopted direct from shelters after being illegally wild-harvested by TNR con-artists without the LEGALLY REQUIRED SIX-MONTH QUARANTINE.

    These are just the diseases that stray cats in the USA have been spreading to humans, not counting the ones they spread to all wildlife. THERE ARE NO VACCINES against many of these, and are in-fact listed as bio-terrorism agents. They include: Campylobacter Infection, Cat Scratch Disease, Coxiella burnetti Infection (Q fever), Cryptosporidium Infection, Dipylidium Infection (tapeworm), Hookworm Infection, Leptospira Infection, Giardia, Plague, Rabies, Ringworm, Salmonella Infection, Toxocara Infection, Toxoplasma. [Centers for Disease Control, July 2010] Sarcosporidiosis, Flea-borne Typhus, Tularemia, and Rat-Bite Fever can now also be added to that list.

    This woman needs to be fined for more than just sustaining the suffering of an unwanted dog for 2 years, she also needs to be stopped from her criminally negligent cat-feeding behavior. Perhaps then she, and all like her, might eventually learn what real love for animals and life is all about. If you really love them sometimes you need to have the strength of heart to have them humanely put to death; out of their misery, torment, and suffering that humans created for them.

    • MyTwoCents

      Even if you killed all of the stray cats and dogs that exist now, you would not solve the problem. The real problem is that the human owners do not take responsibility for their pets.. The owners do not have the animals spayed and neutered to prevent unwanted offspring; they don't vaccinate their animals to prevent diseases nor do they microchip the animals so the animal can be returned if lost. Until the owners take the responsibility for their animals, the problem of strays will never go away.

      P.S. You do know that you can believe only a fraction of what you read on the Internet, correct? 🙂

      • woodsman001

        Licensing and laws do nothing to curb the problem. If cats are required to be licensed then cat-lovers just stop putting collars on their cats, as they did by me. And they won't even bother getting them micro-chipped, especially not that They want absolutely nothing that can hold them legally responsible, liable, and accountable for the actions of their cats. It's why many of them even keep cats in the first place. We're not talking about the topmost responsible citizens of the world, you know. They don't want that responsibility of what their cat has done coming back on them. If they had even one iota of a sense of responsibility and respect for all other lives on this planet we wouldn't even be having these discussions.

        On the other hand, I found something that DOES work, and works well, and works fast (well, relative to the years it takes trying to reason with deceitful and lying cat-lovers that accomplishes ABSOLUTELY NOTHING). Where I live cat-lovers have learned that _ALL_ cats, stray and feral, collared or not, ear-tipped or not (because TNR con-artist liars now just clip cats' ears only, WITHOUT sterilizing or vaccinating them, to protect their hoarded cats from being trapped and euthanized), _ALL_ their cats are humanely shot on sight and buried whenever found away from supervised confinement.

        The ONLY thing that works is destroying any of their cats found outdoors off their property. They either learn to stop getting more cats that die under the wheels of cars or from animal attacks, or they finally learn how to be a responsible pet owner, respectful neighbor, and learn to keep their invasive species animal under confined supervision, as it should be. Win win win all around. You can either destroy their cat for them humanely, or let their lack of concern for their cat cause it to die inhumanely. By destroying their cat for them humanely you are showing them that you care more about their cat than even they do. A bullet is by far the most humane death that any free-roaming cat will ever meet. Anything else is all inhumanely downhill from there. Their only other options are being hit by cars, environmental poisons, cat & animal attacks, disease and parasites, freezing, etc., etc.

        You can't train a cat to stay home but I found that, in time, you CAN train a cat-owner into being a responsible pet-owner and a respectable neighbor. Most of them are so phenomenally stupid, disrespectful, and criminally irresponsible though that you have to make at least 12-15 of their cats permanently disappear before they even start to figure out what they've been doing wrong all during their sorry, useless, and pathetic lives.

        If you live in an area where its not legal to use firearms to destroy any animal that is threatening the health and safety of you, your family, your animals, or property (as it *IS* legal in most every area of the nation — shoot to maim is animal cruelty but shoot to kill is a perfectly legal way to humanely destroy any nuisance animal on your own property); then check into laws regarding air-rifles with ballistics speeds of 700-1200 fps and using pointed vermin-pellets in no-firearms zones. Many of the newer ones even come with their own sound-suppressor designs built-in, being specifically designed for shooting vermin cats in urban areas, the demand is that great. Failing that, then there's always the SSS and TDSS Cat Management Programs that are exploding in popularity worldwide. Shoot, Shovel, & Shut-Up; or Trap, Drown, Shovel, & Shut-Up. Both methods are legal on every square foot of this earth. No local laws were violated if it never happened! (Where cats have already learned to evade all trapping methods, then inexpensive generic 1-adult-strength acetaminophen (overseas a.k.a. paracetamol) pain-relievers are a more species specific vermin poison. But you really need to retrieve and dispose of that carcass safely so that native wildlife won't die from the many diseases cats spread even after their death.)

      • Sugasquirrel

        IC 35-46-3-12
        Torture or mutilation of a vertebrate animal; killing a domestic animal
             Sec. 12. (a) This section does not apply to a person who euthanizes an injured, a sick, a homeless, or an unwanted domestic animal if:
                (1) the person is employed by a humane society, an animal control agency, or a governmental entity operating an animal shelter or other animal impounding facility; and
                (2) the person euthanizes the domestic animal in accordance with guidelines adopted by the humane society, animal control agency, or governmental entity operating the animal shelter or other animal impounding facility.
            (b) A person who knowingly or intentionally beats a vertebrate animal commits cruelty to an animal, a Class A misdemeanor. However, the offense is a Class D felony if:
                (1) the person has a previous, unrelated conviction under this section; or
                (2) the person committed the offense with the intent to threaten, intimidate, coerce, harass, or terrorize a family or household member.
            (c) A person who knowingly or intentionally tortures or mutilates

        a vertebrate animal commits torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, a Class D felony.
            (d) As used in this subsection, "domestic animal" means an animal that is not wild. The term is limited to:
                (1) cattle, calves, horses, mules, swine, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, poultry, ostriches, rhea, and emus; and
                (2) an animal of the bovine, equine, ovine, caprine, porcine, canine, feline, camelid, cervidae, or bison species.
        A person who knowingly or intentionally kills a domestic animal without the consent of the owner of the domestic animal commits killing a domestic animal, a Class D felony.
            (e) It is a defense to a prosecution under this section that the accused person:
                (1) reasonably believes the conduct was necessary to:
                    (A) prevent injury to the accused person or another person;
                    (B) protect the property of the accused person from destruction or substantial damage; or
                    (C) prevent a seriously injured vertebrate animal from prolonged suffering; or
                (2) engaged in a reasonable and recognized act of training, handling, or disciplining the vertebrate animal.
            (f) When a court imposes a sentence or enters a dispositional decree under this section, the court:
                (1) shall consider requiring:
                    (A) a person convicted of an offense under this section; or
                    (B) a child adjudicated a delinquent child for committing an act that would be a crime under this section if committed by an adult;
                to receive psychological, behavioral, or other counseling as a part of the sentence or dispositional decree; and
                (2) may order an individual described in subdivision (1) to receive psychological, behavioral, or other counseling as a part of the sentence or dispositional decree.
        As added by P.L.193-1987, SEC.15. Amended by P.L.41-1998, SEC.2; P.L.132-2002, SEC.1; P.L.7-2007, SEC.1; P.L.171-2007, SEC.10; P.L.111-2009, SEC.14.

      • woodsman001

        Sigh … don't be such a MORON. Citing laws out of context means nothing. Now list all the hunting laws in your state.

        According to you, then everyone who kills those vertebrate rats and mice are felons by using glue-traps, vermin poisons, and snap-traps. Or using their cats as hunting animals hunting out of season to destroy them also makes those cat-lickers into felons.

        If shooting an animal to humanely kill it was illegal ANYWHERE then no state could ever issue hunting licenses. And if you own your OWN land, you can hunt year round without any licenses for hunting and not even a license for owning and using gun.

        Do try to find even ONE case where a cat was humanely shot dead and someone was convicted of a crime for shooting that cat (no other reason). You will find THOUSANDS of cases where there are vet-bills involved, the cat had to be euthanized later due to being maimed (proving it was illegal animal abuse), but NOT ONE CASE WHERE KILLING THE CAT HUMANELY WITH A GUN WAS ILLEGAL. No vets nor vet bills are EVER involved in a shoot-to-kill LEGAL cat-shooting case. You cat-lickers have been trying for years to find a case like that anywhere in the country so you can scare people with it — IT DOES NOT EXIST.

        Try again. LOL

      • woodsman001

        p.s. You might want to reread this section and try to comprehend it in that teeny little pea-brain of yours….

        (e) It is a defense to a prosecution under this section that the accused person:
        (1) reasonably believes the conduct was necessary to:
        (A) prevent injury to the accused person or another person;
        (B) protect the property of the accused person from destruction or substantial damage; or
        (C) prevent a seriously injured vertebrate animal from prolonged suffering; or
        Read more at https://fox59.com/2012/12/19/woman-charged-with-an

        Knowing that nearly all cats spread their DEADLY Toxoplasma gondii parasites through their feces gives EVERY homeowner the complete legal right to shoot-to-kill ANY cat spied crapping on their property. 🙂

        And you thought citing those laws would prevent people from shooting your cats? Au contraire mon idiot. Now EVERYONE knows they can legally shoot your cats! LOL

      • woodsman001

        Feral dog-packs are actually a rarity in rural areas. It is mandatory by law in nearly every, if not every, state of the USA to shoot any dog on sight that is seen harassing wildlife. And a property owner has EVERY RIGHT to destroy ANY animal that is threatening the well-being, safety, and health of their own family and animals.(Minus those on endangered or threatened species lists or under protection of MBTA (Migratory Bird Treaty Act), though variances can still be given should there be sufficient problem, but this requires further study by authorities.) This is also true in most densely populated cities. Where firearms cannot be used then people LEGALLY shoot vermin cat with any 700-1200 fps air-rifles and pointed vermin-pellets. Cat-lovers love nothing better than to tell you it is a crime to destroy a cat. THIS IS A LIE.

        This is why feral dog-packs are a rarity in most rural areas. They are SHOT before things get that bad. Unfortunately, people moving to the country aren’t aware of this so they refuse to do their civic and moral duty by destroying that dog or cat that is harming other animals. I keep a paintball-gun loaded with red-pellets for any stray dogs. Stings enough to teach a teachable dog, and leaves a nice signal on their coat. The first time they get the paintball gun. If that doesn’t teach the owner and alert them to what could have really happened to their dog, then out comes the rifle next time. Cats aren’t so easily forgiven, because from past experience I know that warning a cat-owner does no good. So out comes the rifle on the first sighting of a cat instead of the paintball-gun. People in rural areas who actually care about their animals keep them PROPERLY SUPERVISED AND CONTAINED, or they lose them — permanently. You can tell who actually loves their animals, their animals are still alive. It’s the law of the land.

    • Animallover

      Woodsman, you don't know what the Hell you're talking about. You're nothing more than an animal hater and probably put out bait trap to kill all animals be they wild or feral or strays.

    • Evelyn

      Woodsman has been reading too much on the NET and believing every word of it.

      But, I do agree people should not have pets unless they are taking care of them. But, how do you inforce this? You can't.

    • your stupid

      Look that’s your view of it you selfish-no regard for life, waste of a human body. It takes a strong, good hearted person to do what she does not only is she raising her two grandchildren that lost their mom to cancer, she’s tryin to give mistreated animals the will to stay alive and look how our Animal Control repays her for doing THEIR job. With fines and a court date, maybe if animal control new how to do their job in a timely manor we wouldn’t of had this problem, but obviously Debby has tried that route numerous times and every time they have been hours, even days late.

      I Rest My Case
      My heart goes out to all the animal lovers out there!

    • sally wood

      you are an idiot,,, and the woman should have been given a metal,, are you a foreigner who hates animals,,, I wish you the worst in your wasted life,,,

  • keep

    so sad they say they want the community to help them keep control of strays but then they sock it to ya!!! No wonder no one like the animal control they are blood sucking money suckers!

    • idiotsmacker

      You said that a lot nicer than I was thinking it. lol. $10 says the person that wrote the tickets got beat up in high school quite a bit.

  • Debby Poulsen

    I am Debby Poulsen and first and foremost would like to clear up some misunderstandings concerning this dog, and the Ferral cats. I have lived in this area 23 years and have seen my fair share of animal owners abusing their animals, and I am not one of them. Years ago an older lady around the corner had approximately 30 plus cats and one day decided to no longer care for them, the cats ran the neighborhood and had one liter after another. I started working with the Ferral Society to get the cat population under control. The Ferral Society would trap the cats, fix them, and give them their shots, but they had to bring them back to our neighborhood where they picked them up. They provided shelter and food if a person would just feed them. This is how my feeding these few cats started. The News has a few things wrong in their reporting, and one is that I put food out for this stray dog on a regular basis, that never did happen. I also have a problem with calling this dog a stray, it is not a stray, someone around this neighborhood owns this dog. A stray dog does not run around with a collar on. Over these few years I have seen this dog about every two or three months, and this would be when the dog broke away from its owner and was found eating the cat food for the Ferral cats out front. I had always thought this dog just broke away from his home, but never a stray. The first time I seen this dog as I said on the news it was very thin. No wonder why it was eating the cat food. I would throw this dog some hot dogs on occasion it would eat them and be on its way. It never seemed to be vicious, just hungry. I have called Animal Control over the years for numerous things, one was a sick possum that was sitting outside not moving and it took them two days to come get it, another time a PitBull puppy was roaming around, I leashed it, called Animal Control and after eight hours of me sitting outside with this dog they finally showed up. There have been times I have called them over different circumstances and to my knowledge they never showed up at all. A loose dog will not stay around your property and wait for Animal Control to pick them up when ever they get the time. When I seen this dog on Saturday early evening I could tell he was hungry this was what lead up to me noticing his injuries, and deciding to leash him and try to get the dog some help. I at this point had not seen this dog for five months!! I will always try to help a helpless animal, but doing what I thought at the was right is ending me up in court. This poor dog has never been in my custody for 30 days, and I never left food out for him on a regular basis. I have two small dogs and two cats which get vet visits every year along with all their shots. Thank you
    Debby Poulsen

    • RBricker

      This is ridiculous. It appears to me that the people at Animal Control either didn't understand the facts of this case, or didn't care or want to. Perhaps they were just trying to punish you for making more work for them.

      Animal Control is obviously not interested in helping animals in need of help.

  • Animal (no) Control

    I think Animal Control is out of control. I feel for this lady. One of my church members was fined because her dog died of old age. She had all the dog's medical care records and everything but that didn't matter to them. I think the dog was between 10 – 15 years old, yet she was charge with causing his death. I have to go to court on 2/1/13 because I took in a stray and her puppies before they froze to death because Animal Control couldn't catch them. Animal Control had sent out about dozen trucks, and came with tranquilizer guns and still couldn't catch Baby and her puppies. We caught the dogs, tamed them, got them fixed, treated the mom's skin rash, and what did Animal Control do? Charges

  • idiotsmacker

    This is RIDICULOUS! I would love to see whoever wrote the tickets fired. We have enough of "Barney Fifes" in the world as is. Anyone who reaches out to help an animal (or person for that matter) should be commended and NOT persecuted. I understand that there are a lot of stupid and abusive people in the world, but if you can't figure out that this lady was trying to do the right thing… then you need a lesson in common sense.

  • Heart for Animals

    This is just sad and shows you what our world is coming to. I just can't believe you can't give a helping hand anymore without being fined for doing so! Now that this women has been fined and has to go to court. Do they honestly think that someone is going to bring in a helpless animal to them again? Now everyone is going to be scared to take a dog or any animal in to get the help it needs, because fear of getting into trouble. With everything that is going on, some people don't have that kind of money to pay fines or court fees. So all this animal place has done is scared everyone off and away from helping.

    • I love animals

      I would never bring a stray to animal control…they would probably fine me, and put the dog down. All they care about is money. I wanted to adopt a dog from there before…their facility is so discusting…They should be charged with animal abuse.

  • jessica

    I can see both sides of this story & understand why animal control would think this woman deserved the fines. Unfortunately it seems they jumped to the wrong conclusion in this case.
    If you look at things from animal control’s perspective, anyone can bring an animal in & claim that it’s a “stray” when it’s actually a pet they no longer want. I’m sure they just assumed that Mrs. Poulsen was simply trying to get rid of the dog because she had neglected it & didn’t want to face the cost of having it treated. Obviously they were wrong, but it is understandable to see why they might think this way. It probably happens quite often.
    As far as animal control not being able to catch a stray when it is reported, I totally understand that. Years ago I was living in an apartment complex that did not allow dogs. A large stray dog suddenly began hanging around our building. I originally assumed it belonged to someone in the complex who was breaking the pet policy. When I discovered some other people had started putting food out for it & it was indeed a stray, I called animal control to come get her. When they showed up, the dog backed away from them. They didn’t bother to try to catch her, they just said to call again if we caught her or she was still around after more time passed. I thought it was ridiculous that animal control wanted us to catch her when they were supposed to be the ones trained to catch stray animals. After they left, I stayed outside near where the dog was for a few minutes. I knelt down, held out my hand & she came right up to me. Against my better judgment (she could have bitten me after all), I loaded her into the car and had her at the animal shelter less than a half hour after animal control “couldn’t” catch her.

  • Donna

    God bless you Ms. Poulsen. I recently rescued a stray dog, that also was bone thin, but took him to FACE, to check for a chip. This was a mixed pit bull and they have a program for pit bulls that will vaccinate and neuter for only $20.00. I was blessed to find a family, already there getting shots for their German Shepard puppy, who fell in love with my stray and gave him a good home. I am doing follow up visits for that dog. Please post a address or mail box number where people can send you money to help pay those fines.

    • Neko

      I agree. I better stop feeding the birds. If you flies into my window and injures itself, it is mine according to the law. Same for the squirrels which eat the bird food as well. Heck I must own a whole lot of animals by their definition. Tell you what, if animal control is out somewhere and in some sort of trouble, refuse to help them. Make them experience their own rules.

  • Juniper

    Shame on all you haters!!! How can you own a dog if it's a stray and won't come to you?!! leaving food out does not mean its your pet! did it come in her home for those weeks she was feeding it?? NO!
    it was a stray. would you fine a person for handing out food to a homeless person? maybe we should!!! At least the stray animals have more courtesy than the homeless who charge at you asking for spare change! Plus the animals that are strays do not have the choice of being neglected or a stray. Homeless people do. they have made their choices and were evidentely the wrong ones! Animals cant ask for help especially when they are bruised and broken. This poor lady. I would do the same thing Ms Poulsen, go ahead and fine me too, cuz I have fed many many many strays in my life….. Merry Christmas to you all and hope all your hearts soften a bit and think about the animals in need rather than the logistics and politics of it all!!

  • steve

    first off I think its crap that this lady got fined for doing a good deed ! I think the state just seen away to suck more money out of the system. I think its BS ! I feel the fines should be dropped asap.

  • Danielle

    It's really sad that the medaia picks up on stories like this but never posts any of the good things that IACC or that other rescues/shelters are doing. I understand your judgments because you don't get to hear about their accomplishments….you only get to hear about the negatives. But as the founder of IndyLostPetAlert.com, I have been able to witness the accomplishments of IACC and its staff over the past nine months. I can tell you dozens of stories about how they have helped reunite pets with their families…and most of the stories are outside of the staff's paid hours. I'm truly amazed by their dedication to saving lives – and I know their hearts go out to pet owners. As for the fines, if you want to change them, go to the city council….don't take it out on their staff. They are just following the laws. We are very proud to be working with them to reunite pets with their families. With their help, the community's help and the help of other shelters and rescues, we have reunited more than 800 pets with their families since March. It just shows what working together and positive attitudes can accomplish….be the change that you want to see in the world, all!

    • Richard

      We expect IACC to do good things. It is when they do something this ignorant, we are amazed. I don't believe their staff is under attack, but you can bet we will do all necessary to make sure that Debbie is not punished for an act of kindness.

  • Understandable

    I sincerely hope they throw this out of court. Many city areas have stray dog problems. We called consistently over one stray who had lived outdoors over three years. You could see her ribs and she was pregnant, yet animal control was never able to catch her. Yes, we fed the dog when we saw her-should we just have let her die? The ones who should get the tickets are those who abandon an animal when they find out it is work to take care of one. They also should get those who chain a dog in a yard, feed and water them occasionally and never interact with them.

  • RBricker

    " There are two issues of concern here. " – "I can see both sides of this story "

    Wrong. There's only ONE issue here.

    Debbie went out of her way to help an animal in need, and was ready to make a contribution to Animal Control. She also did not object to paying the tickets, but she shouldn't have to. It is ridiculous for her to be fined for trying to help an animal in need!

    Animal control should be HELPING animals, not issuing tickets to people who try to help. Obviously Animal Control wants people to ignore stray and injured animals, instead of trying to help them or get help for them.

    I hope this issue will get the attention it deserves. Animal Control needs to be reprimanded for issuing a ticket for an ordinance Debbie DID NOT violate. Even if she HAD technically violated an ordinance, that should have been overlooked for someone who was obviously trying to do the right thing!

    Debbie deserves an apology from the City, NOT fines!

  • bassetgrammy

    Am I mistaken? Aren't people that work with animal organizations, whether paid or volunteer. supposed to love animals and wish to help them? I am appalled. What is wrong with the employees at Animal Control (I can't bring myself to add the "care" part). First of all. has anyone spoken to Ms. Poulsen's neighbors and ask if they see this dog at her house all the time? Seems to my civilian brain that this should have been the first step to take, instead of ASSUMING the worst. Looks like everyone agrees that she is indeed not guilty and was just really trying to help the poor dog. At least the poor thing is supposed to be getting help. My fear is they will just put him to asleep. God help you people getting paid to "help" animals. God bless you Ms Poulsen there is a special place in heaven for people that cares for other living souls on this earth.

  • concerned neighbor

    First of all none of you people know Mrs.Paulson I am a concerned neighbor and i've seen her with that dog since it was a puppy and she has four other animals they should go look at

    • Sis-In-Law

      Concerned Neighbor – you obviously don't know Mrs. Poulsen at all!! You should make sure you post FACTS not lies!! I am her sister-in-law and know the facts!! She has the biggest heart of any person I've ever met – for both humans and animals!! FACTS: She has 2 dogs she's had since they were puppies – and has brought in 2 cats. The dog in question has never been her dog. When she took it to the Shelter the other day – that was the first time she'd seen the dog in 5 months. She wanted to prevent the dog from being further abused!! She knows the dog belongs to someone in the neighborhood – is it YOUR dog perhaps?

    • Chris

      I think you are lying and you don't even know where she lives. You are just trying to stir up trouble !! Shame on you

  • Summyfun

    I have called Animal Control many times about dogs roaming around coming to my fence where my dog was. It took them 3 days to show up. One dog was vicious. I see Animal Control drivers all the time sleeping in their trucks and doing a bunch of nothing. Anyway they can get money they will. This lady was doing a great thing by getting help. Shame on you-Indianapolis Animal Control….

  • Jan

    I think Animal Control is out of control also. A year ago I adopted a dog from a rescue group who was from a puppy mill. She's very scared of people because of this. I got her at night & the next morning she managed to get out of our fenced in yard. I was watching her while I was trying to take care of my other dog & cat trying to get her to come inside of her own accord. Anyway a neighbor called Animal Control when they saw she was loose & they picked her up. When I went to pick her up from Animal Control they gave me a lot of grief about the fact that according to the adoption papers she wasn't to be left unattended, that I didn't have her medical records (when I called to see what I would need they didn't say anything about medical records), just treated very rudely. After I finally got my dog back & ended up with a fine for letting my dog run loose & not having record of her shots, I received a call that evening from the lady that runs the rescue group. She said Animal Control had called her & told her that I obviously had no attachment to the dog, told her that I had said she wouldn't get out again because I was going to use a tie-out (part of the adoption agreement is that you won't use a tie-out), etc. I never said any of the things that they claimed I said. I'd only had her about 12 hours & most of them were spent sleeping. Of course, there wasn't much of an attachment! Dogs that are abused take time to get attached to. She's my shadow now. I was wanting to foster with this group but now my reputation is tarnished because of their lies. I wrote a letter to the Mayor but they only had Animal Control call me which didn't solve anything. They pretty much just denied it. I wouldn't bring any animal into Animal Control. I would find a rescue group to take care of them or take care of them myself. When I picked up my dog from there she was starving & went to the bathroom in the truck. She obviously had not been taken care of when she was there.

  • Summyfun

    What about when my dog(rescused it) got loose and my neighbor who was a Animal Control officer kept my dog over 24 hrs and them took it to work. He was chipped, had a collar with my number and his name, and vaccinated. They never called me and was about to adopt him out before I went looking for him. He was not a trained dog when I got him and he got out of the house a few times, but he is 5 yrs old now and fully trained. He is a part of the family. I paid my fine happily and he has never ran away since. He was 1 yr old at the time. I would never donate to Animal Control-they are rude and dont' do their jobs. I would however donate to help shelters out that do good for animals and not kill them.

  • Belgian Malinois

    In many towns/counties whatever, they have laws that say if you feed an animal for 'x' amount of time, it becomes YOUR animal. This lady fed this dog for 2 YEARS. If she was an animal lover as she claims, she would have called ACC years ago to come and get the dog. Sorry. Suck it up and pay the fine.

    • Sis-In-Law

      She had not been feeding the dog for 2 years. In the past two years, she might have fed the dog 10 times and those times were when the dog came up to her porch to eat the cat food. Obviously the dog was hungry.

      • Belgian Malinois

        Doesn't matter. She still saw the dog in the area for 2 years and she also left food out for him for 2 years. It's her dog.

  • Johnny Lee Way

    @Debby Poulsen,
    Debbie, I passed along my contact information to Yvonne Man @ FOX59 to give to you so that I could help with your fines. I do however think that these fines will be withdrawn due to the lack of justification within this case. I do wish you the very best and am still here for you if you'd like my help.
    From one animal lover to another,
    Much love
    Johnny Lee Way

  • Bridget price

    It is very sad that ms. Poulsen is having to go to court for trying to help! If animal control would just listen to what she had said regarding the situation, instead of automatically making her the responsible party! Why do they always assume people aren't being truthful? Slapping a Good Samaritan with fines as if she is just lying and trying to get out of her responsibilities , shame on you!

  • snafu2010

    I used to live in Indy. I have called about a stray we had caught. We were told by animal control that they would be out within a week to pick up the dog. Obviously they were not concerned about that dog's welfare.

  • Gina

    Well all I know is if feeding strays for extended period of time means I own them. Then I own all the neighborhood stray cats,dogs, a multitude of crows, rabbits, a few possums, ducks, geese, a few deer, and some field mice. I don't believe in shooting anything that can't shoot back or hurt me. I'm a vet tech so my pledge is too help not harm. While I can empathize with the "Woodsman", animals domesticated or not can always use their instincts they are not forgotten. If you had to choose between trying to survive in the wild or slammed in a cage and being shot up with the pink juice, I do believe you would choose to fight for the life that God gave us all! Learn to share the land, serve humanity not destroy. The animals were here first respect them and use your thumbs which make you human to help them not pull a trigger!

    • Tracy

      As long as you get your colony fixed at FACE. there's no point in feeding them if you're not going to get them fixed if they're just going to add to the problem.

  • Barb

    This is so sad. What is this world coming to. If indeed a law exists as they say, it needs to be thrown out. People who are doing things nice to help others, even animals, and are ticketed is outrageous. Way to go Mrs Poulsen for having a heart!!!!!

  • woodsman001

    Oh LOOK! You don't even need to have an unlocked pet-door to have a rabid cat enter your home and attack you and your family now!

    Now they're coming right through your ceilings!

    People who don't shoot and bury every last unknown cat on their property are morons and idiots. Those that feed these cats, training them to attack humans, and defend these cats being there are the even greater criminally-irresponsible sociopathic morons and idiots!

    • woodsman001

      Unfortunately, your FuxFelina bible-home-schooled morons and their even more demented Pedro Loco ring-leader believe that ALL invasive species have EVERY RIGHT to destroy ALL native species on every continent. Don't believe me? Just ask these morons. Without that belief of theirs they have nothing to stand on. If you search their archives you'll find plenty to back this up.

  • woodsman001

    You might also like to know that destroying cats is neither hating cats nor a fear of cats.

    Why do mentally-unbalanced and psychotic cat-advocates always presume that if someone is removing a highly destructive, deadly disease spreading, human-engineered invasive-species from the native habitat to restore it back into natural balance that they must hate that organism? Does someone who destroys Zebra Mussels, Kudzu, African Cichlids, Burmese Pythons, Brown Tree Snakes, or any of the other myriad destructive invasive-species have some personal problem with that species? (Many of which are escaped PETS that don't even spread any harmful diseases, unlike cats.) Your ignorance and blatant biases are revealed in your declaring that people who destroy cats must somehow hate or fear cats. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    It is people who let a destructive invasive-species roam free that tortures-to-death all other wildlife, wasted for their cats' play-toys, that have zero respect for ALL life. They don't even care about their cats dying a slow torturous death from exposure, animal attacks, diseases, starvation, dehydration, becoming road-kill, environmental poisons, etc., the way that ALL stray cats suffer to death. They don't even respect their fellow human being. This speaks more than volumes about your disgusting character. People like you should be locked up in prison for life for your cruelty to all animals, cruelty to your own cats as well as all the native wildlife that you let your cats skin alive or disembowel alive. If you let cats roam free you are violating every animal-abandonment, animal-neglect, animal-endangerment, and invasive-species law in existence.

    If people do hate cats today, have LEARNED to hate cats today, you have nobody but yourself and everyone just like you to blame. YOU are the reason people are now realizing that all excess cats must be destroyed on-site and on-sight. You've done so much to make people care about cats, haven't you. If you want to do something about it, direct your sadly and sorely misplaced energies at those that are causing the problem, not at those who are actually solving it AND HAVE SOLVED IT 100%.

    THIS IS YOUR FAULT and THE FAULT OF EVERYONE JUST LIKE YOU. You have NOBODY but yourselves to blame.

    You can take that all the way to the very last shot-dead cat's grave.

  • woodsman001

    You might also enjoy knowing …

    If you advocate for cats as rodent-control on farms and ranches you've already doomed them to being destroyed by drowning or shooting when it becomes a financial liability more than any asset. Ranchers and farmers worldwide are fully aware that cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasite can cause the very same birth defects (hydrocephaly and microcephaly), still-births, and miscarriages in their livestock and important wildlife as it can in pregnant women. Consequently, this is also how this cats' brain-parasite gets into your meats and onto your dinner-tables, from herbivores ingesting this cat-parasites' oocysts in the soils, transferred to the plants and grains that they eat. Not even washing your hands in bleach will destroy this parasites' oocysts if you have contracted it from your garden or yard that a cat has defecated in.

    This is why any cats are ROUTINELY destroyed around gestating livestock and wildlife-management areas in the most efficient, humane, and least-expensive method available. Common rural practice everywhere. The risk of financial loss from dead livestock and important native wildlife from an invasive-species cat is far too great to do otherwise. This cats' parasite is now even killing off rare marine-mammals along all coastal regions from run-off containing this cat-parasites' oocysts.

    The next time you bite into that whole-grain veggie-muffin or McBurger, you need to just envision biting down on a shot-dead or drowned kitten or cat. For that's precisely how that food supply got to your mouth — whether you want to face up to it or not. It's not going to change reality no matter how much you twist your mind away from the truth of your world.

    If you want to blame someone for the drowning and shooting of cats, you need to prosecute yourself — every time you eat.

  • Susan Proctor

    Ms. Poulsen should receive a medal, not a handfull of tickets. What is wrong with the agencies like this that are probably governed by higher up money sucking government agencies. She should take it to court, and be sure to let anyone and everyone in the area know. Also find out the fax # for the courthouse and let everyone that would like to voice their opinion, do so, before court. I agree that a fund should be set up to help pay for these tickets. And I'll bet Ms. Poulsen will continue helping out when needed. I watch Animal Planet all week long for hours and I'm sure glad Miami, Detroil, San Francisco and other on TV consider it humane to turn in an animal like that. Indianapolis needs to be glad there are people out there helping. I give ya a Texas YEEHAW for your kindness and generousness. Good luck and God bless you. Keep up posted.

  • Janet

    Debbie – it's not right how the media and the Vets charged you with all these crimes- when in your heart you were trying to do what was right for the animals. God Bless you for all you did for them. The Animal Control should have been out looking for the owners who actually abused these dogs. Life isn't fair , I've said that time ad time again. The people who are doing the right of the world are the ones getting stabbed in the back for doing the most humanly justice things mankink or animalkind.

  • Susan Proctor

    Woodsman001, you sound like a mean old man. I think you should start shooting and the neighbors should call the law on you for shooting in the city limits. You must be a cat hater. You are one sick puppy. Debby is a very nice and caring person. You sound like someone who is looking for attention and you'll get it the wrong way some day if you don't tone down your devil tongue.

  • Jefrey Dujon

    Animals are very close to us nowadays and they cannot describe their feeling as we can do properly. We need to take extra care of animals whenever any opportunity came to us. Her punishment is well deserved and hopefully from next time she will take extra care of pets.
    cats quotes

  • Areyouserious?

    I love the last sentence by these fools. We dont want to discourage people from bringing stray animals in. But just call Animal Control… Why? So they can decide whether they want to pick up the stray or not. This is one reason why Animal Shelters around the state have so many issues. Someone like Ms. Poulson that has a little bit of power and doesnt know how to use it. If she would of listened to this lady she said fed the dog every couple months for two years. This poor lady was trapped either way. One, if she only fed her own pets once every two months, thats considered animal abuse, or she says she feeds a stray every two months when it comes back to her house when its hungry. I pray that any judge in this state would throw this out and make Ms. Poulson pay double the fine for putting this woman through this. But then again this is Indiana.

  • Phillip VanGarrick

    Animal control is just being "professional", following the letter, not the spirit, of the law. "Professionalism" means prioritizing the bottom line, and excluding common sense when there's a chance to make a buck, and being self righteous doing it by claiming higher moral ground "according to the law", while vilifying acts of conscience.

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