Fury over furry animal neglect in Quincy

Sunshine, a yellow lab, was confiscated from a home on Quincy's south side in January 2014

Scores of Quincy residents turned out for Wednesday night's Animal Control Commission meeting in city council chambers.

Commissioners called the meeting after problems surfaced over a neglected yellow lab on South 6th Street last month.

Now residents say it's time for change.

"I volunteer and answer the phones every Saturday at the humane society," concerned resident Jeanie Mitchell said. "We just get phone call after phone call of people who are concerned about this animal or that animal and we refer them to the city. But then we're getting phone calls back because there isn't really a lot of teeth in the law. On weekends, there really isn't any way to enforce the law so, I just worry about the animals."

Mitchell is one of dozens of people concerned about animal welfare in the City of Quincy.

Wednesday night's meeting comes after Quincy police confiscated an emaciated yellow lab from a home on the city's south side January 30th. Several concerned residents told KHQA they had complained to the police department about the dog for years. Complaints ranged from the dog not receiving adequate nutrition, being left out in extreme frigid and hot temperatures and not having a long enough tether.

"We have one officer, and he gets called out at different hours of the day and night," Quincy alderman Jim Musolino said. "A lot of people are compassionate about animals, and tonight they spoke. We may need to re-address this situation with the police chief and and the aldermen as a whole city council."

The Animal Control Commission recommended hiring a second animal control officer for the Quincy Police Department. However, that recommendation never made it out of the police aldermanic committee to reach the full city council.

"We had a huge turnout of people tonight to air concerns and complaints about various animal control issues in the city," Animal Control Commissioner Sally Westerhoff said. "I think it's something the city council, and the mayor certainly need to take a look at. We obviously encouraged this people to come to the full city council, to call their alderman, call the mayor, express their concerns and complaints because those are the people who have the authority to take care of some of these problems."

Westerhoff proposed strengthening some city ordinances to better animal welfare, especially in light of this winter's prolonged cold temperatures.

However, she said more law enforcement will be needed to make sure pet owners obey the law.

Quincy's Animal Control Commission will meet again March 26th.