Increase in animal abuse calls prompts Clinton to hire protection officer

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CLINTON, Iowa--  An animal advocate in Clinton says the city is facing an extreme number of animal abuse calls. City workers said they get more than 10 complaints a month.

As of September of 2018, Clinton police officers, legally, are the only ones that can respond to animal abuse calls. 

Recently the city has decided to hire an animal protection officer to better serve the community.

“I'm actually stunned at the level and amount of incidents that continue to occur around here,” said Donna May. Donna runs a dog training camp in Clinton,  and for the past few months she has been handling animal abuse concerns.

“Right now what we're trying to do is fill in the gaps and help people out,” said May.

Clinton hasn't had an animal control officer since 2016, after the city eliminated the position.

Donna said she believes the community is suffering because of it.

Just last year, WQAD reported on Sammy, an eight-year-old cat that was found covered in duct tape on his paw and tail.

RELATED: Scared and wrapped in duct tape, abused cat in Clinton finds his way home

That is just one of several high profile animal abuse cases in Clinton.

“When we looked at it it was the policies and procedures that we need to adjust, who do you call if there's a stray dog and who goes and gets it,” said Matt Brooke. Brooke is the city administrator in Clinton. He has been working closely with concerned community members on the issue.

He believes he has found the answer. A new type of officer, who can dedicate more time to these cases.

“We can't have dogs just running a muck we have some really good people who are behind making sure the animal welfare is taken care of and this is the best way for the city to have an animal protection officer to be able to do that,” said Brooke.

It's giving the community and Donna the help they have been asking for.

“We're really happy to have someone dedicated to caring to animal welfare in our city and our county,” said May.

The city administrator says he hopes the new hire will become a full time police officer within the next two years. Until then, that person won't be able to give tickets.

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