SIKESTON, MO (KPLR)-- On December 5th, we went down to Sikeston, MO after hearing about 25 dogs the Sikeston Humane Society sent to St. Louis. Citizens told us they thought it was because the shelter needed to make space for the town's round up. Now the Sikeston Humane Society confirms that.
I went to the top and spoke with Sikeston Area Humane Society Director Trace Allen White. I asked him, "How did he characterize it to you (the animal control officer)?
Trace Allen White responded, "As a round up, yeah."
Hayes, "He said you would get how many dogs?"
White, "About 20, maybe more, maybe less. They kind of gave me a good estimate, that`s why we sent so many dogs to rescues so we can prevent having to euthanize for an influx of dogs."
The Humane Society is independent from Sikeston. It's just under contract with Sikeston, to shelter dog's seized by the City's Animal Control. The Humane Society Director described his last contact with animal control. He said an animal control officer told him the put bull round up would continue.
White said, "They were going to try to finish it up this week. But with all this attention I really doubt they will."
Hayes asked, "Because of the pressure?"
White, "Definitely because of the pressure."
Sikeston`s City Manager repeatedly denies it`s a roundup.
Hayes asked, "So why did the Humane Society send away 40 dogs the day before the reported roundup?
City Manager Robert Friend responded, "Uh, to reduce the population at the Humane Society shelter."
Hayes, "And where are you hearing that?"
Friend: "Well, I`m hearing it from Trace."
But Trace Allen White said this, "We were pretty full, but that`s not the reason we sent them out."
Then I told the City Manager, "Trace says the round up is still officially going on... according to the animal control officer you guys are going to be back maybe this week."
City Manager Friend said, "Not true. Not true."
Hayes, "What reason would he have to say that?"
Friend, "I have no idea."
Now the Humane Society has rows of empty cages, The three dogs seized last week? City officials say they weren`t 'rounded up,' but were seized in an 'audit.'
I asked the City Manager, "Are you sure they were pit bulls that you took?"
Friend replied, "We identified them as pit bulls, but not thru DNA."
Hayes followed up, "How did you identify them?"
Friend said, "We just looked at them."
Later, I picked up one of the small mutts seized. The intake sheet says he`s a pit bull weighing about 15-20 pounds. The sheet says "reason for intake - non-compliance."
According to White, non-compliant means it`s likely someone`s pet that didn`t meet a long list of requirements. Like Madeline Bell`s pit bull Stella. She now has to get a large outdoor kennel, buy insurance on Stella, buy a muzzle, special collars and leashes and so on. She didn`t know about the requirements until our report, then suddenly feared someone might seize Stella.
Bell told me "(Stella would) go with them willingly. She`s always ready to go, but I would be crazy. I don`t know what I`d do."
Though she says Stella wouldn`t protest, she fears how some nice dogs might react to animal control. She remembers her old lab.
She said, "One of ours was so protective of me any my sister, if anybody came up, (you would see her) hair standing up, growling. She was a great family dog, but she just didn`t like, you know, some dogs get protective over their owners."
The three dogs seized last week have not been claimed. The Humane Society can only guess that it might be cheaper for the owner to get another dog instead of abiding by the regulations. The Humane Society estimates Sikeston Animal Control Officers bring in about 2 to 3 pit bulls every week for non-compliance.
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