Concerns Over Animal Control Voiced At City Council Meeting

Concerns about animal control were brought up at Monday night’s Fort Dodge City Council meeting. Local residents Jeremy Leo and Stuart Balm addressed the city council with concerns regarding animal control during the the public comment portion of the meeting. In the middle of last week , Stuart Balm founded a wounded stray cat that was bleeding substantially at Walmart in Fort Dodge. Around 5:45pm Balm called the police department for help in the matter. Balm then called his friend Jeremy Leo to assist with the cat. Their call to police was relayed to animal control, they received a call back from animal control over an hour after the initial call.  The city is served by the county’s animal control officer and during the return call animal control gave an ETA of 9 PM to 9:30 PM to come get the cat. The Animal Control officer then called back and gave a delayed ETA of around 10 PM. In the meantime, Leo had taken the cat to his home to care for it while waiting, animal control arrived after 10 PM over 4 hours after the first call was made for help with the cat bleeding during that span. The cat would later die as a result from the injuries. When Leo and Balm told their story to the Fort Dodge City Council last night, Mayor Matt Bemrich cited the reason for the lag in response time was due to having a lack of budget. The lack of budget Bemrich said results in a reduction in manpower for animal control causing the city to defer to the county for matters of animal control. Bemrich then instructed the duo to speak with Police Chief Roger Porter after the meeting. They spoke with Chief Porter and said the chief responded by citing Bemrich’s statements about the lack of funding and manpower. Porter’s man area of focus in the matter was the way the police department handled the call, Balm stated he felt satisfied with how police handled their end of the matter. However, both Balm and Leo were unsatisfied in the long response time from animal control and feel there is a better solution than what is in place currently.