Cindy DiFazio - Staff Writer
The Ripley County Commissioners
met in regular session on Monday, January 29. Commissioners
Robert Reiners, Chuck Folz and Lawrence Nickell were present.
Attorney Neil Comer and County Auditor, Mary Ann McCoy were
Geneen Ostendorf, along with two other Ripley County residents,
addressed the commissioners regarding what they termed as cruelty
to animals. Ostendorf reported that she had witnessed
what she believes to be an ongoing case of extreme neglect of
local cattle. According to her, these animals are grossly underfed
and are living in sub-par conditions.
Ostendorf, who drives a bus route, stated that even the children
who ride her bus ask, Why doesnt somebody do something?
She posed the question, If theyre raising animals
for food why arent they feeding them?, noting that
the animals appear to be malnourished. Ostendorf went on to
say, I think we need an animal control officer - someone
who will address these problems head on. She suggested
that if money is a problem, fines might help offset the cost.
The commissioners had requested that health department representatives,
Andy Bryant and Wayne Peace be present for the discussion. Commissioners
president, Robert Reiners, asked, Andy, could you explain
Ripley County policy? Bryant told the gathering that the
health department investigates allegations of cruelty to animals.
If it is determined that abuse is taking place, the sheriff
is called in and charges are pressed against the alleged offenders.
He said that if necessary a veterinarian is brought in as an
expert, noting Who can determine if the animal is starving?
A lot of times it comes down to a veterinarian to make that
determination. Bryant also noted that many health departments
do not deal with these cases, stating, Weve chosen
to do this.
Commissioner Reiners asked, If the county did have an
animal control officer, what kind of authority would that person
have?, continuing, Would the county have to confiscate
and feed the animals? Bryant responded that in the case
of a large number of animals they would have to be sheltered
in place, caring for them where they were already housed.
He said that then the owner would be put in jail, and then,
Where do you get the feed and who feeds them? Reiners
noted, Weve taken horses and farmed them out to
others. Bryant stated, I try not to put a dollar
sign in front of what we do, but 100 head of cattle is a totally
Bryant told commissioners that currently there are three ongoing
investigations into such allegations. Ostendorf expressed appreciation
for Bryant and Peace, saying, I commend them for what
they do. She went on to address the commissioners again
stating, If you address this issue, people will say Ripley
County is not going to let this continue to happen.
In other business, Ken Hylton, the new Veterans Administrator
came before the commissioners. He thanked the community for
allowing him to serve the veterans. He reported transporting
area veterans to 12 appointments in January a total of 1,600
miles, and believes the usage of this service will increase.
Hylton also told the commissioners that the new veterans
facility in Lawrenceburg now offers an in-house eye doctor and
has room for a dentist.