Supervisor defends animal control visit to house where dead dog found

The supervisor of Whiteside County Animal Control says they did everything they could when they checked on a complaint that Joseph Nelson was moving and left a dog in a cage in his basement.

Related: Man leaves dog in cage to die

Animal Control officers went to Nelson’s home on March 14, 2014. More than one week later, two men hired to clean the home Nelson had moved from found a dead pit bull locked in a cage.

The discovery leaves many wondering why animal control didn’t do more.

“They didn’t hear anything, see anything, and they didn’t smell any type of odor,” said Vanessa Scott, a supervisor at Whiteside County Animal Control.

Scott said Nelson wasn’t home when their two officers arrived. The officers did notice a TV on the porch.

“With the owner moving out, we figured that he was still there.  That’s why they left a door tag for him to contact us,” Scott said.

They say Nelson never did contact Animal Control.

Related: Dog abandoned and left to die in cage at Rock Falls home

Nelson was arrested Friday, March 28, and he was charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

“If it’s a rental, we can get in contact with the landlord and see if he can let us in. And, if we have enough evidence and we believe something’s in the house, we can contact the local police department to see if they can assist us in some way,” Scott said.

“We just didn’t have enough evidence,” Scott said.

Scott says they followed protocol, but she still thinks about the ‘what ifs.’

“We wonder if there is more that we could have done,” Scott said.