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Archive for Thursday, January 9, 1992

LOCAL SHELTER VOLUNTEERS AID OFFICERS IN KENNEL RAID

January 9, 1992

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Three staff members from the Lawrence animal shelter participated in a kennel raid Wednesday in Washington County and brought 15 dirty, neglected dogs back with them.

Pointing to a skinny Irish setter, Frank Miller, who volunteered for the raid, said that on Wednesday, the dog appeared frightened around people.

"Today, you know, it's just a totally different dog," Miller said.

Sixty-five to 70 dogs were seized at the unlicensed Washington County kennel of Mike and Kathy McCall. Washington County is north of Junction City along the Nebraska border.

The Washington County sheriff's office, along with humane society volunteers from across the state, began removing the dogs at noon.

Lawrence volunteers left at 4 a.m. Wednesday for the raid and returned about 8 p.m., said Pam Olmsted, a member of the board of directors of the local shelter and vice president of the Lawrence Humane Society, which operates the shelter.

IN ADDITION to Lawrence, the dogs were transported to shelters in Topeka and Junction City.

Dogs brought to the local shelter after the raid include huskies, German shepherds, golden retrievers and Doberman pinschers.

Miller said the dogs were standing in a muddy field and didn't have anywhere dry to sleep.

"The dog houses were filled with water and fecal material," Miller said.

He said one female red Doberman with four week-old puppies was "bonier than any of these dogs."

Olmsted said the dogs at the local shelter aren't in serious danger. "With some good food, they'll be fine," she said.

However, Olmsted added that one Doberman is "extremely dehydrated" and will need special care. All of the dogs are dirty, and Olmsted said the animals will be bathed starting today.

SHE SAID some of the dogs taken to other shelters are in worse condition.

Olmsted said donations of money and towels would be appreciated. Because the dogs will require different foods, donations of food would not be as helpful as money, she said.

Sue Baxter, director of the Animal Facility Inspection Program, which is part of the state's Animal Health Department, said a hearing will be scheduled for the owners of the kennel.

The McCalls will be charged by the Animal Health Department with a violation of the Animal Dealers Act. Mary Horsch, press secretary for Atty. Gen. Bob Stephan, said that office also plans to charge the McCalls with animal cruelty.

Cruelty to animals is a Class B misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. A violation of the Animal Dealers Act is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable with up to one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.

Baxter said the McCalls had applied for a license for 1991 but had been denied and had not yet applied for a license for this year.

The Animal Health Department first inspected the kennel in March 1991. In April 1991, the department began to gather information about sales.

THE ANIMAL Health Department, especially Livestock Commissioner Dan Walker, has been criticized by animal welfare activists for not being aggressive enough in closing down substandard kennels in Kansas.

Olmsted said "good laws" regulating kennels exist but have not been effectively enforced under Walker.

"The animal welfare people are pretty unhappy with him," she said.

Baxter stressed that in order to charge a kennel operator with violation of the Animal Dealers Act, "we have to have proof of sales." She said that process took awhile.

"It's a long trail to follow," Baxter said.

The raid, which was originally planned for Dec. 30, resulted when officers arrested another man on a warrant. The arresting officer noticed a lot of dogs at the man's residence, and the man signed an affidavit listing from whom he bought the dogs, Baxter said.

"The McCalls' name came up," Baxter explained.

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