Animal neglect case spurs city discussion - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Animal neglect case spurs city discussion

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Is it time for tougher requirements for outdoor pet care in Quincy? The harsh winter has been hard on pets, including one high profile neglect case involving a yellow lab.
   
Now, supporters say it's time to clearly define what proper care is.

Neighbors say a dog was in serious trouble when he was forcibly removed from his owner a month ago. Some Quincy residents say they want answers on how to prevent it from happening again.

"I don't think there's enough definition so that people can act," Jean Mitchell says.

It was a packed house for the Animal Commission meeting Wednesday night, where several residents voiced concerns about the way some animals are treated. They also want answers on what can be done. Commission Chairman Sally Westerhoff believes a good place to start is with the state code. She says it doesn't do a good job of laying out requirements for good pet care.

"With very subjective language, it's very hard to enforce, because some people may think a porch overhang is a good enough shelter. I don't," Westerhoff says.

Westerhoff has her own ideas.

"It has to have four sides and a roof, and it has to have a floor," she says.

6th ward alderman Jim Musolino says council members receive numerous calls about stray or neglected animals, and he knows the case of the yellow lab has heightened the community's awareness. Currently the city has only one animal control officer, and Musolino believes that's one area where more needs to be done.

"I can't speak for the rest of the council, but I was one that was for getting another animal ordinance so we could address these issues," he says.

He hopes the interest displayed tonight will lead to further action from residents.

"It shows that there are people who have compassion for animals and inhumane treatment will not be tolerated," he says.

The proposed "adequate shelter" changes have been sent to the city's legal department for review and the commission will further discuss them at its next meeting in March.
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