Animal Trouble

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A growing number of complaints about neglected animals are piling up at the Winnebago County Animal Services Department. Most of the complaints are filed by concerned neighbors, and the complaints often lead to the removal of several animals and sometimes criminal charges.

Carla Swimelar is one of several residents in this southside neighborhood to call animal services and police with concerns about this home. Complaints are about dozens of cats roaming in and out of the house and a terrible smell.

"I guess it was really bad. I mean one of the officers puked yesterday. Twenty three years on the job and the first time he's ever gotten sick going in a house," says carla.

Police and animal services investigated. On Monday afternoon, they removed two dogs, at least seven cats and the carcass of a dog.

Gary Longanecker is the director of Winnebago County Animal Services. He says in June alone, county animal services have removed pets from five area homes for negligence and health hazards.

"We feel it's a significant health risk to certainly family members but we're also very concerned about the animal welfare," says Gary.

Neighbors in this part of the city are glad to see the pets go and a condemned sign on the door of this home. But cats still lingered at outside and that's a big concern for an animal lover like Carla Swimelar.

"Half of them stay inside bad weather and everything. If you're going to have that many animals have a proper place for them," Carla adds.

Investigate these situations, and many times pet owners face criminal charges of animal abuse and neglect.