MOUNT VERNON — With about 11,000 dog tags issued last year, and probably an equal number of unlicensed dogs in the county, the staff at the Knox County Animal Shelter, have a large population of pets to look out for.
The shelter is staffed by St. Clair and two full-time and one part-time officers. When possible neglect or abuse is called in to the shelter, information is taken; and while anonymous reports are taken, it is preferable for the caller to leave their name and number. That information need not be related to the animal’s owner but if a case would go to court, witnesses make a stronger case.
A caller should provide a description of any abuse they may have witnessed, including the address, date and time, as well as the name of the alleged abuser, if known. Officers will need the location of the animal in question and they investigate all calls as promptly as possible. If they have enough information at the time of the call, they can check to see if there is a registered license.
If the pet owner is not at home, the officer will try to visually assess the animal’s condition if it is outside. They will not intervene, however, unless the animal is in immediate danger, for example, being entangled in a leash or chain.
A door hanger will be left at the home to advise the owner to contact the shelter, regardless of the visual findings. “Regardless of what we do,” said St. Clair, “we’re going to leave you notice that we were there.”
If residents think a pet is being neglected or abused, they are encouraged to call the Knox County Animal Shelter located on Columbus Road. “There’s a misconception that more animals are neglected than they are,” said St. Clair.