Clay County animal neglect case under investigation

News 10 reached out to the State Board of Animal Health, and a spokesperson has confirmed a case in Clay County is being investigated.

Posted: Feb 4, 2019 6:43 PM
Updated: Feb 5, 2019 11:17 AM

BRAZIL, Ind. (WTHI) – A local humane society says it’s concerned about another case of animal neglect in the Wabash Valley. This one is in Clay County.

This is the second animal neglect case that's come into the News 10 Newsroom in the past few weeks. It's showing many are willing to speak up about animal welfare.

A concerned viewer reached out to us with this possible animal neglect case. Allegedly there used to be 6 alpacas at a residence in Clay County. Now, there are only two.

News 10 reached out to Michelle Cannava with the Clay County Humane Society to see if they knew more about the case.
As it turns out, she says problems date back to late summer. Cannava tells News 10 a dead alpaca was found under a semi-trailer on the property. Fast forward to last Monday, and the humane society received another dead alpaca report.

Cannava says when she went to investigate she found only 2 alpacas were there. She says their living conditions were bad.
Cannava explains, "There was another dead one under the same semi-trailer in the freezing cold and the other two as well as a potbellied pig and an emaciated calf were only being provided shelter underneath that semi-trailer and were not being given proper food or water."

News 10 knocked at the door of the homeowner on Monday but received no response. Cannava says the Clay County Sheriff's Office is aware of the case. She says the Sheriff's Office has contacted the State Board of Animal Health to investigate. News 10 reached out to the State Board of Animal Health, and a spokesperson has confirmed the case is being investigated.

With animal neglect cases, Cannava says it can be hard to judge if livestock is being properly taken care of.

Cannava explains, "They're used to seeing them outdoors with less fancy shelters but we do live in a rural area that does have a lot of farm animals so yeah that can get trickier."

Often times the average person isn't sure if what they're looking at is neglect or not.

Brazil resident Todd Pierce explains, "I would call the humane society any time that I felt an animal needed food or shelter depending on the weather conditions and so forth."

Ersel Burgess of Brazil shares, "If I saw cruelty to an animal or something like that, not to say being hungry isn't cruel, but yes, if I saw somebody kick a dog or something I’d call, certainly."

Pins at the Clay County Humane Society are wrapped in tarps and there are even heat lamps inside to ensure that the animals are warm enough. Society workers went to those measures for the recent cold snap. But even then, Cannava says several shelter animals were sent out with fosters to bring outdoor dogs in. Then, many new animals were brought into the shelter that she didn’t anticipate. She says the community rallied behind the shelter to help make sure all animals were taken care of during the brutally cold conditions.

Cannava says good shelter is crucial for animals. She adds it can be the first red flag an animal isn’t being taken care of properly.

She explains, "Improper shelter, especially in inclement weather, whether it's really hot or really cold. Lack of food or water, general body condition."

Cannava adds that when considering making a report, time is an important factor.

She shares, "If it's a place you live close to, if you observe for several days that it doesn't look like the animals are being cared for, we encourage people to contact the local authorities."

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