Animals dumped at Humane Society; new security measures put in place

Local News

EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WCIA) — Six cameras are mounted around the Effingham County Humane Society building. They catch some, but not all, of what happens outside. One night, they failed to catch something illegal.

Employees say two huskies were left in the outside pens. A third was wandering around outside of the fence. It was a dangerous situation for volunteers.

“They walk out there thinking there’s not going to be any dogs but the one they’ve got on leash and all of a sudden they’re approached by three strange dogs … Our volunteers could get hurt, the dogs could get hurt, it’s just all around a bad thing,” says Board President, Mark Clineff.

This isn’t the first time animals have been left at the Humane Society. It happens a few times a year. Sometimes boxes of kittens and cats are left near the front doors or in the shrubs. Those animals have to deal with extreme hot or cold temperatures and they have to fend for themselves against other wildlife.

“So they have to sit there for 12 hours until we come back. And we have predatory animals in the area — everything from foxes to eagles that could attack them,” says Clineff.

The dogs recently left behind were given to Animal Control and then transferred to husky rescues. Operations Manager, Karen Grupe, says their building can only house so many animals.

“We have to evaluate every single dog that comes in here — and we don’t take every single dog because we have to make sure that the dogs are going to work with our volunteers. One dog will see eight different volunteers in one days time,” says Grupe.

Employees believe the person who dumped the huskies knew how to avoid getting caught. So they came up with a solution: buying an additional eight cameras to cover every angle of the building. But paying for them was a problem.

“We haven’t had a fundraiser for over a year with the COVID, so we’ve been watching the balance sheet pretty carefully … When you’re in a situation like that you don’t know when you’re going to be able to raise funds again, you have a tendency to hold back on any major expenditures,” says Clineff.

They turned to the community for help. In just a couple of days, they raised enough money to buy them. They hope the extra cameras will stop this from happening again. It’s their best option for keeping the animals and their volunteers safe.

They hope to have the new cameras installed within the next month. If someone is caught on camera leaving animals behind, the Humane Society will turn that video over to police. Employees can’t pinpoint why people dump their animals anonymously — except to say maybe they’re embarrassed or feel guilty. They say they will provide people with options if they just give them a call.

As for those huskies left behind — one of them had a microchip. That was traced to someone in Clay County, who said they had previously given away the animal. They still have not identified the person responsible for leaving the dogs in Effingham.

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