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Community outrage about animal abuse, city of KC responds

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There has been an uproar in response to Goldie; the dog many people feel was abused and neglected and should not have been returned to its owner.

Now the city is responding.

"There are some in the animal community who feel that officers should have done more...but they've done everything they can do according to the current code...so if we want them to do more, we have to change the code," said City Spokesman, Chris Hernandez.

He says they're open to changes to the current code.

"We have put up the entire animal control city code on our virtual town hall KC momentum, and we are encouraging the public to go online and give us your suggestions," Hernandez added.

Questions about what animal control officers can legally do when responding to a call arose after pictures of Goldie, the lab that Chain of Hope and many people feel has been neglected, circulated.

Now many people are upset after finding out she's being returned to her owner.

"Some of it's subjective, and some of it is objective. In regards to the fly strike on the ears, the dog had what we consider a minimal amount of fly strike," said  Chris Harriman, an animal control officer.

Harriman says every animal cruelty investigation is a case by case basis. In this case, he says Goldie didn't require immediate medical care.

"There is an objective scale that is used to determine whether or not an animal is in bad condition or not; one being very skinny, nine being morbidly obese," Harriman said.

The accepted range is usually a four or five. He scored the dog a four, a vet scored her a three, and she was cleared.

"I this case, the decision was made that enforcement wasn't going to be our first step, it was going to be education," said Harriman.

Harriman says they connected with the owner three different times. Goldie had access to water and shelter, and they helped owner get whatever resources needed.

The only citation issued in this case is because the owner did not have a pet license.

Hernandez says animal control officers rescued 3,900 animals last year alone.

He says they encourage people to call 311, and report any neglect.

Click here for more info: http://www.kcmomentum.org/