Monday, January 31, 2011

Greenfield shelter owner complains about lack of progress in case of abandoned dogs

By Drew Kerr, The Post-Star

The owner of a Greenfield animal shelter says she is upset that town officials and police have not done more to look into her concerns about two pit bulls that showed signs of fighting and were abandoned at her facility last month.
Tracy Palmateer, the manager at the Estherville Animal Shelter on Russell Road, said a shelter volunteer reported on Jan. 20 that two pit bulls were thrown from a slow-moving red sport-utility vehicle as it passed the shelter.
Palmateer said one of the dogs ran off into the woods and has not been found, while the other has been treated for "severe wounds" on his face, chest and tail that she says indicate he may have been used to train other dogs for dog fighting.
"This is an animal abuse case," said Palmateer, who said the dog, named Mallicki, is still recovering at the shelter but is not yet ready for adoption.
Palmateer said police and the town's dog control officer have done little to help look into the case, or to help find the missing dog, which she fears may now have been attacked by coyotes.
Supervisor Dick Rowland said the town's dog control officer has been gone on medical leave, though, and that there has been little information to go on in looking into the case.
The volunteer did not get a license plate number and cannot remember the car's make or model. Rowland said there are also questions about whether there is a second missing dog because no tracks were seen leading into the woods and there have been no reports of a wayward dog.
"Nobody can say for certainty much of anything really," he said. "So are we going to go traipsing through the woods looking for Spot? No, we're not."
Still, Rowland said the town would act on any information it received about the case.
"If someone has information on this, we'd love to have it," he said. "If it was found that there was a dog-fighting operation in this town, it would be met with very severe consequences."
Palmateer is now spreading information around the community in hopes that someone will come forward with information. She has seen several pit bulls at the shelter over the years that show signs of being used in dog fights, and fears the practice will continue if nothing is done.
"Pit bull fighting in this area is very common, which is scary," Palmateer said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the shelter at 893-7451 or e-mail info@esthervilleanimalshelter.net.

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