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home : news : north central illinois   February 6, 2016

2/21/2014 5:43:00 AM
Starving dogs wait for law to play out


This beagle stands on top of a wire kennel in an Arlington area farm house where it and perhaps dozens of others have been without food and fresh water for days. State law requires animal control officials to follow a specific protocol before assisting the animals despite their overall poor health. In addition to the beagles, several horses also are living on the property and they, too, have been without shelter and food.NewsTribune photo/Kevin Caufield
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This beagle stands on top of a wire kennel in an Arlington area farm house where it and perhaps dozens of others have been without food and fresh water for days. State law requires animal control officials to follow a specific protocol before assisting the animals despite their overall poor health. In addition to the beagles, several horses also are living on the property and they, too, have been without shelter and food.

NewsTribune photo/Kevin Caufield
Kevin Caufield
NewsTribune Reporter



ARLINGTON — A lone beagle trotted up the wet and icy driveway. His orange collar and curiosity set him apart from the pack. Perhaps he’s the alpha male, or perhaps just lucky.

Howls of perhaps dozens of beagles could be heard echoing from behind him, near and within an old Arlington farm property’s ill-kept storage buildings.

Upon closer look, past the equally run-down home and rusting camper and school bus are a group of horses in a cramped pen. All of the animals, minus a few of the dogs, have severely infected eyes and have gone without food and clean water for at least four days.

But help is on the way.

Illinois Valley Animal Rescue director Chris Ellberg said she is coordinating with Illinois Department of Agriculture and Bureau County Animal Control officials to rescue the dogs perhaps as early as today.

The property owner, Daniel G. Labounty, 64, of 20248 3500 East St., Arlington, purportedly suffered a stroke and was recently admitted to a local nursing home. Animal control officials would not disclose where nor how long he would be in the home.

Regardless, Ellberg said Labounty was served a warrant Thursday morning. That legal action begins a time clock where if the animals are not cared for during the next 24 hours then Bureau County Animal Control officer Scott Robbins can seize them.

“No one from the public can go out there and feed and water them,” Ellberg said. “If they are fed and watered, then they are technically being taken care of and we cannot go out there and rescue them.”

Robbins was unable to be reached before press time.

La Salle County Animal Control officer Gary Wind said the Illinois Animal Control Act requires animals in poor or neglected condition to remain that way until proper legal action is taken.

“It’s crazy but it’s true,” Wind said. “What you might think is morally right or what you think makes sense may not always be legally right.”

Once the animals in Arlington are seized they effectively become the property of Bureau County. That also means the county, specifically the animal control officer, is responsible for the care of the animals, Wind said.

“You can leave them on the property so long as you are taking care of them,” he said. “But I like to get the animals to a licensed rescue. It’s the best way to keep the animals from being put into another similar situation.”

In this case, the dogs will likely be sent to IVAR. But no one is quite sure what will become of the horses.

“Everybody likes to jump on their podium because it’s terrible and they’re right,” Wind said. “But we cannot take immediate action and overstep our legal bounds or we could be the ones breaking the law.”

Kevin Caufield can be reached at (815) 220-6932 or countyreporter@newstrib.com.








Related Stories:
• Beagle owner denied
• Fate of beagles undecided
• 'Not an animal abuser': County official sheds light on owner of beagles, horses
• Animal control officers remove 21 beagles from property
• IVAR springs into action for beagles, horses





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