Dead animals, filthy cages found in animal shelter

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The city of Lawrence has fired an employee after reports of dead animals and filthy cages were found at the Animal Care and Control.

Police first responded to a vandalism call at the animal shelter Tuesday night. Officers arrived to find two dogs and one stray cat dead. 11 dogs were living in filthy conditions — feces everywhere, and cages that looked like they had not been cleaned for days.

“Deplorable is the word I would use,” said Lawrence Police Chief, Michael Walton. “Having two dogs of my own and being a dog owner, I was sickened by it.”

Indianapolis Animal Care and Control was also called to the scene. Walton said they are waiting for the state veterinarian to check on the animals and determine what may have killed the two dogs and cat.

The head of the shelter, who reports to the deputy chief, had been taking care of the animals for about seven years. The employee has since been fired. His replacement started Wednesday.

“We’re not in the position where the deputy chief has to micro-manage or visit every day,” said Walton. “We would think a veteran employee that has several years here doing the same thing would continue to be responsible for what he’s been doing for a long time.”

Staff spent the night cleaning up the building. A detective is investigating the case to see if charges will be filed.

“To me, it’s child abuse. I mean, it’s no different. [Animals] just want to be loved,” said Lisa Jones, a Lawrence resident and dog owner. “I think charges should be filed. To me, it’s a criminal act.”

Once the state veterinarian completes a medical check-up, the eleven remaining dogs will be put up for adoption at the Indianapolis Animal Care and Control.

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