Amid allegations of brutal treatment of two dogs at Eldon's animal facility at the hands of officers, the police chief is asking the Missouri Highway Patrol to look into the alleged incident.
The allegations surfaced through Facebook posts, encouraging people to attend an Eldon Board of Aldermen meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 8. The plea for support described an incident that allegedly took place last fall at the city-run animal facility. The alleged incident involved a male and a female dog in heat that were left in the same run.
According to Rene Ward, a longtime volunteer and organizer with the Friends of Animals organization that serves Miller County, the incident took place not long after the city began cutting back on the expenses of running the facility. A longtime employee had resigned in the wake of the city's cutbacks and plans by city officials to change how the facility was operated.
The two dogs were forced apart while mating, causing the male to lose his genitalia in a brutal and extremely painful incident. The dogs were taken to a local veterinarian to be euthanized, Ward said.
"Those involved would never confess involvement," she said. "They called it an unfortunate incident."
Eldon Police Chief Rodney Fair said he was not aware of the allegations until he received a complaint from someone on Facebook on Jan.6.
"Prior to that I had no knowledge of the complaint about the officers and I don't know which two officers they are referring to," Fair said. "Due to the seriousness, I have requested the Missouri Highway Patrol to investigate."
Ward said the incident points to the dilemma facing Friends of Animals in Eldon. For years, the city and the organization worked together to handle animal control issues in Eldon. The organization took care of many animals for the city and found permanent homes for animals through a statewide network of rescue organizations.
In recent months, that has changed. The volunteers are no longer visiting the shelter, located on Y Road near the public works building, and attempts to get in and take photos of animals to post for adoption have been unsuccessful. It is difficult for pet owners looking for their animals to find out when the shelter is open.
All calls for the animal shelter are now routed through the police department and the phone number for the shelter has been disconnected.
"We had such a nice system with the city," Ward said. "We are concerned about what is happening."
Animal control ordinances are expected to be discussed on Jan. 8 during the Eldon Board of Aldermen meeting. The agenda notes the city will be amending their animal ordinances but does not list the specific changes.
Ward said Friends of Animals is encouraging anyone with an interest in what type of facility Eldon operates and how animals are treated by the city to attend the meeting to voice their concerns.
"We are not radicals, but compassionate caring people that care about this issue," she said.