SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) - Sedgwick County Animal Control said it has investigated more animal cruelty and inhumane cases in 2018 than it did during 2017 and 2016.
"It was utter disgust," said Mark Claeys.
Mark Claeys is a foster for a Wichita animal rescue. He is currently housing a terrier mix named Glory.
"She's a playful, energetic puppy," Claeys explained.
However, that's not how Glory was found. Sedgwick County Animal Control said someone discovered the dog abandoned on the side of a county road in early 2018. Her eyes and mouth were glued shut, according to investigators.
Glory is just one of a handful of abused or neglected dogs found in Sedgwick County.
In November of 2017, the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office said someone found a dog shot to death in a field near Haysville.
"They tied her legs and they drag her through the field because, you know, she had the skin in her legs. It was peeled off," said the dog's owner Maria Monjaras. "We just call the police, make a report, they give us a case number. That was it. We haven't heard anything."
"Our cases, even though we only have a few that are open, they may be considered open for a long time. We don't just shut the door on cases," said Sedgwick County Animal Control Supervisor Shawn Hornbaker.
County animal control officers have worked 13 animal cruelty and inhumane cases in 2018. In 2016 and 2017, the department investigated 10 cases each year.
"We need people to really open their eyes and pay attention to what's going on here."
So far in 2018, the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office has investigated three animal abuse cases. That's compared to three cases in 2016 and four in 2017.
"That I don't really know. I really don't. These could be isolated events. Gosh, I hope so," said Hornbaker.
While Hornbaker is optimistic, one Wichita animal rescue group is not.
"How many times are we going to have this conversation . . . where it's another dog, another dog fight, another bait dog, another dog that's been neglected. I mean it's just ongoing," said Randi Carter, a volunteer with Beauties and Beasts Rescue.
Carter and her group have saved and fostered hundreds of animals, many of which have come from Wichita and the Sedgwick County area. She said if will take more than animal control officers and rescues to keep animals safe.
"I want it to be different. It needs to be different. We need people to really open their eyes and pay attention to what's going on here," Carter said. "We need to get ahead of it. We need to fight this. We need to band together as a whole community. Whether you are joe schmo with one little Shih Tzu at home or you're the guy that's rescuing the dogs off the streets, whatever your part is in this community, we have got to band together. We have got to stand up together to beat this."
Animal control officers agree with Carter. They told KSN they rely on the community for tips regarding animal abuse cases, adding it's important to say something if you see something.
"We need to get ahead of it. We need to fight this. We need to band together as a whole community."
"It's all about education. We hope that we are spreading the word and that they know they can call us and we will do our job so people should have confidence in us to do it," Hornbaker said.
The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office and Sedgwick County Animal Control are separate entities. They investigate their own cases.
As of April 2018, animal control officials said they have three open animal cruelty and inhumane cases. Each of them are from 2018.
The Sheriff's Office said it has nine open cases dating back to 2015.
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