Vet Encourages Public To Talk To Supervisors On Animal Shelter

(photo by Jennifer Nichols)

Pictured is just one dog at the Atlantic Animal Shelter in one of the outside cages.

CASS COUNTY – A local veterinarian is encouraging people to speak with the Cass County Board of Supervisors about the need for a county animal shelter and system for dealing with animals found running loose or injured.

Dr. Doug Swain, who manages the Lyman Vet Clinic, recounted two incidents of animals who were injured by vehicles after running loose near Atlantic and Griswold overnight on Wednesday in a post on his facebook page. While the dog survived and was returned to the owner, the cat was euthanized.

“Out here in the country, when we have a stray dog, we don’t have anything in place to deal with it,” Swain said Thursday. “We don’t have a system in place. There’s no direction on what to do.”

He said having a county shelter and a system to follow would help the problem.

“We need to set up protocols on what’s the sheriff’s responsible, what’s the veterinarian’s responsibility, what’s the common person responsibility (in these situations),” he said.

He said he wanted to bring the issue to the attention of the Cass County Board of Supervisors, and encouraged people to voice their opinions about the issue to the board. He hoped it would lead to more “open discussion” on the issue.

Supervisor Board Chairman Steve Baier said he had seen Swain’s post, but had not received any comments from county residents, however, he also said he was sending an email to other board members saying they could be receiving calls on the issue.

Baier said the topic of an animal shelter has come up before, and back in 2014, the board was discussing it with mayors from towns in Cass County.

“It is topic that comes up about every six months that I’ve been on the board of supervisors,” Baier said. “We’ve looked at it from a number of angles. It’s going to take a financial commitment if we’re going to have a public supported one. We’ll probably take another look at it. We’ve got a couple new board members on now and maybe they can bring some ideas and perspectives that will help.”

Baier also said right now, “The burden for the lot of these situations falls on the veterinarian,” and it’s “unfairly falling” on them because they provide services, but are not necessarily getting compensated for their work.

The city of Atlantic currently has the only animal shelter in the county. The issue was discussed in 20017 and at the time Atlantic officials said it was often unable to take in animals from outside of the city because it was full.

At that time, a group of mayors from area communities agreed a county-wide shelter was needed and vowed to work toward that goal. But no agreement was ever reached and the idea died.