Head of Indianapolis animal care and control suspended after sweep

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Administrator of Indianapolis Animal Care and Control will be serving a two-day suspension next week after actions he took ahead of a multi-agency sweep of local animal rescues, pet stores, grooming businesses, and pet daycare facilities earlier this month.

The sweep, that was led by the Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement, included Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, the Indianapolis Fire Department, and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Twenty-three businesses and non-profits were visited.

“With regard to the tipping off, or letting them know we were coming, that’s something that we’ll correct,” said Dan Shackle, Indianapolis Animal Care and Control Administrator.

Only FOX59 was invited along for the sweep that top public safety officials claim brought the department’s integrity into question.

“In hindsight, that was poor judgment on my end,” said Shackle. He told FOX59 he had warned two of their partner organizations that they would be coming by as part of the sweep.
The organizations are Indy Humane and Southside Animal Shelter.

FOX59 had asked him about prior notice the day of the sweep after a conversation with a rescue employee.

FOX59: “It seemed like some of these places did know we were coming.

Shackle: “I can’t speak to that.”

The Southside Animal Shelter staff member said they had completed a two-day cleanup ahead of the sweep. She said she heard about the sweep on Monday.

“We were jut told that you guys would be coming through,” said Brandi Crumpton. “It gives us a chance to heavy clean.”

Shackle admitted in his second interview that he had made two calls, one to Indy Humane that was aware of the day and time the multi-agency team would be visiting.
The other call to Southside Animal shelter came the week before the sweep. They were told it would happen some time the following week.

“The power of the sweep is it gives us the opportunity to partner with different agencies, the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety and the Marion County Public Health Department, and come in unannounced,” said Adam Baker, Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement spokesperson.

The internal review of Shackles’ actions and the sweep was conducted by the department of public safety. IACC is an arm of public safety.

Shackle was given a two-day suspension on Thursday two weeks after the initial incident. He will start serving it on Monday.

“I do believe it was an ammature mistake, just bad judgement on his part to do that,” said Valerie Washington, Deputy Director and COO of the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety.

While code enforcement gave one warning and 14 citations, IACC only cited one non-profit, All About Dogs Rescue. Shackle said there were cleanliness issues and empty bowls.

The non-profit was also cited by the fire department and code enforcement for being unlicensed. The Sunday after the sweep, the rescue became a murder scene.
Two homeless men who police claim were allowed to live there with their dogs would be charged with murdering a pizza delivery man on site.
Authorities arrested them out of state.

FOX: “Did you feel comfortable leaving there with warnings and the one citation given?”

Shackle: “At the time, yes.”

Although inspections by IACC are not required, All About Dogs Rescue, was only visited once in 2013. Code enforcement officials said the organization has applied for a license to operate.

Baker also said they have had several conversations with Star Stables since the sweep, and he believes they will be applying for a license soon. The organization is also a city partner.

Washington said they will now consider more oversight of partner agencies. She suggested a handful of visits by inspectors each week even though staffing is low, but no new protocols have been finalized.

She also told FOX59 code enforcement officials will make the call on who they will visit on future sweeps. IACC will be asked for a list of all of the organizations it works with and has concerns about.

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