UPDATED: Decision Regarding Shelter Abuse Complaints in Indiana Expected Today

Kosciusko County commissioners will meet this morning to make a decision regarding 16 complaints of abuse against Jerry Clase, the county’s ACO for the past 20+ years.

“Eyewitnesses have told us that he has kicked a puppy to death, shot dogs at the animal shelter that have gotten loose, one told me he tried to cut the head off of a cat for rabies testing before it was dead,” said Launda Ewell, who works with animals at Seven’s Heaven Wildlife Rehabilitation.

When the county’s decision on the case is announced, I will update this post.  From a story that appeared last week:

Commissioner Bob Conley says all of the allegations have been investigated. Once the commissioners make their decision on Tuesday, he said, that will “be the end of the situation.”

Read into that what you will.

Update:  Cleared of all allegations:

After looking into all the complaints, commissioners could not verify them. Officials say there was no evidence of documented abuse, so Clase has been cleared of all allegations and he will keep his job.

Let me state clearly that I am all for the presumption of innocence.  I am also for public servant accountability.  Basically, if taxpayers pay your salary, you owe them an explanation when they come to you with complaints of abuse.  To me, “We couldn’t verify the claims” is not an appropriate explanation. The nature of the claims are such that it would be reasonable to expect going in that no documentation is going to exist.  That, in and of itself, does not indicate the absence of wrongdoing.

To me, a reasonable explanation would be something along the lines of – We interviewed Mr. Clase about each of the 16 complaints and here are his answers.  We interviewed X number of present and former shelter staff who worked directly with Mr. Clase and here is a summary of those interviews.  Etc.

The commissioners’ findings seem to me to have been a foregone conclusion. But I wanted to wait until the results were announced to see if they offered any public reassurances to the contrary. Consider me not at all reassured.

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