GRANITE CITY, IL. (KPLR) - A Madison County, Illinois woman is under arrest for animal cruelty, and while there’s little debate that conditions in her home were deplorable, some are questioning whether she should have been arrested. It was Thursday morning when a gas crew showed up at the home of Lisa Welborn, 56, and discovered twenty-five dogs and five cats living in squalor inside.
“Many of these animals were caged and isolated from each other which was part of the problem,” Madison County Sheriff’s Department Captain William Dimitroff said. “The ones that were running free were running through feces, and urine, and hair, and based on these conditions, that was one of the reasons for the arrest.”
Welborn was jailed, held on $100 bond which she still hadn’t made Thursday night. Her house was in such terrible condition that officials say it’s been declared unfit for occupancy. But some of her neighbors say this is simply a case of a well-intentioned woman getting in over her head.
“Oh definitely it got blown out of proportion,” the neighbor across the street who only identified himself as Hans, said. “Lisa is a very, very nice lady. Quiet, keeps to herself. Takes in strays and abused animals. Takes them to the vet. She finds homes for them.”
That assertion was backed up by Laura Beckmann of the Clinton County Humane Society further to the east of St. Louis. Beckmann says Welborn has regularly brought dogs to them that were in need of homes. And, in many cases, she had rescued those animals from horrific situations.
“That’s all we’ve ever known is she goes into absolute awful conditions and brings these dogs out and gets them moved into rescues as quickly as possible.”
She says Welborn’s sympathy for the animals may have been her own worst enemy in the end.
“It just sounds like she was one of those, and there’s a few out there, who are like, ‘no one else is gonna help them so I’ll do it.’”
Back in the neighborhood, some living nearby say this problem is nothing new. One woman, who didn’t want to be identified, says it’s been going on for years. She says the smell could be overpowering at times, and that she and her husband had complained to Welborn about it.
She says the one thing they never did do was call police. She says Welborn was simply, “too nice” to do that to.