Lake County Animal Control II — Things That Make You Go Hmmm….

As detailed in my last post, Lake County  Animal Control relieved a valued and respected employee from her duties recently and many questions surrounding this termination remain.  Protocol, precedent and power highlight the confusion and the facts just make you want to scratch your head.  

The confusing and hard to swallow facts are that even though they say she violated the “rules” nobody, including Victoria, is quite sure which “rules” she didn’t follow.   It’s very difficult to hear the reasons given by the county behind the  firing saying she was a bad employee because she followed county ordinances as she did for the last four  (4) years under three different directors and two different sheriffs, (never to be written up by the way, until recently).  All along she believed she was doing her job as it has been written with the authority she is granted as an Animal Control Officer

 Specifically, she followed the black and white text of the Lake County, IN Code of Ordinances which can be found at http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Indiana/lakecounty_in/lakecountyindianacodeofordinances?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:lakecounty_in.  However, to directly address the situation at hand I’ve highlighted a few Sections that apply which are taken from the Ordinances passed and approved 10/10/2006 in which Victoria relied:

 ***

§90.02 Animal Care Regulations.

             (9) Impoundment.  A violation by a person of this chapter may result in impoundment of the animal in accordance §90.05.

             (19)  Vaccination tags.  Dogs and cats over the age of six months must be vaccinated annually by a licensed veterinarian for rabies.  This was one of the violations in this case.

 §90.05  Impoundment.

             Animal control shall operate a program for impoundment of or the ordering of an impoundment by a third-party, including but not limited to a licensed veterinarian, the following types of domestic animals:  (E)  A cat or dog captured …. within Animal Control’s jurisdiction because the dog does not have a current rabies tag…

***

 Although the above is enough to allow removal of the dogs the below is enough to fine the owners:

 ****

§90.38 Tethering of Animal.

             (A)       (1)  An animal shall not be tethered:

                        (a)  By use of chains…(dogs were chained)

(d) Whereby the animal is without access to shade when sunlight is likely to cause overheating … (it was 90 degrees)

(e) Whereby the animal’s food and water supply are not secured so that they cannot be tipped over by the tether; (there was no food/water)

****

Additionally, for the owner to reclaim their animals after impoundment the following has to happen and it didn’t:

 §90.06  Disposition of Impounded Animal, Reclamation by Owner and Adoption or Destruction of Unclaimed Animals.

            (2) An impounded domestic animal shall not be returned to the owner until each of the following is met:

             (a)  Proof of ownership;

             (b)  The owner making payment of all fees established under this chapter and imposed by Animal Control;

             (d)  The owner providing proof of rabies vaccination…

 **********

After reading the above, I am baffled as to why her actions were questioned?  And then their explanation was that she needed a warrant as stated in this article: http://www.nwitimes.com/article_61a8b698-a9b4-57cb-be4a-6ac31b9647d3.html?fb_ref=.T9O0frJAz2I.like&fb_source=timeline, however,

 § 90.11 Inspection. Specifically states “Whenever it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce any of the provisions of or perform any duty imposed by the section or when there is reasonable cause to believe that there exists in any building, upon any premises, or upon any land, whether it be fenced, open, public, or private, any violation of the provisions of this chapter or Indiana state law, the animal control officer or police officer is authorized at all reasonable times to inspect the same for compliance with the provisions of this chapter or state law; provided that:

 (A) If the property is occupied, the officer shall first present proper credentials to the occupant and request entry explaining the reasons therefor; (proper credentials were given along with 36 hours for the owner to comply);

 (D)  If animal can be seen or heard from within a vehicle or trailer, and if it appears that the animal are being held under conditions posing a substantial and immediate threat to their health or lives, an animal control officer may enter the vehicle or trailer without a warrant and without the consent of any owner, whether the owner be present or absent known, or unknown;

 (E) Upon such exigent circumstances described above in division (D) above, an animal control officer may enter a building or structure that is not abandoned, whether occupied or unoccupied, without a warrant and without consent of the owner, whether the owner be present or absent, known or unknown.

So, if I read the above ordinance correctly which is the law in place at this time, it specifically states she did not need a warrant.  So she followed the Lake County, IN Code of Ordinances and she really didn’t need a warrant.  Scratching your head yet?  Yah me too.  Oh and did I mention when she brought the ordinances to her superiors she was told that they probably need to be rewritten.  Um – What? 

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3 Comments

  1. D.E. Lee

    The only people who think Victoria was fired for breaking the rules is Lake County, the rest of us know better.

  2. Jen

    In response to the below article it bewilders me how ANYONE can not grasp the purpose of this public protest . The entire purpose of LCAC is to advocate for the animals, not advocate for political pull or public political votes. Its NOT a place for public campaign candidates to exert their power. Victoria and those supporting her are doing so NOT with the intention of being spotlighted in the political pool but to advocate for the animals and for Victoria who truly advocated not only for the animals but served the public by helping owners, fosters and people to be able to serve the needs of the animals and the community. RARELY do you find a person who was truly motivated for the sole purpose of touching the hearts of so many animals and people within the community. Animals so not have a voice but they do have a heart and Victoria became their voice and she also helped others speak on their behalf by facilitating multiple adoptions and rescues of animals in peril and danger. We are standing and being a voice also for the LCAC ANIMALS and for what the center needs to continue to have the public contributions, fostering and funding to keep providing for these animals and Victoria is one that is needed and desired for that purpose to continue. So if anyone objects to our purpose, so be it but that will NOT detour us from standing up and being the voice the animals and Victoria need to serve the ultimate goal that benefits the animals and the community.

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