On Monday, April 25, 2022 Des Moines Police Chief Ken Thomas released an update regarding animal control in the city.

As we previously reported, after 30 years on the job, longtime Animal Control Officer Jan Magnuson retired in June, 2019. Magnuson was not replaced, and most recently the city has contracted with Burien CARES for its animal control services.

While a decision to hire a full-time Animal Control Officer has not yet been made, the city says it is currently reviewing “the most efficient and cost effective manner to provide Animal Control Services.”

“We are considering options to include filling the open Animal Control position or contracting for 24 hour coverage,” Thomas said. “A part of this transition includes collaboration with our Police Guild.”

“Our department continues to handle and responds to calls for service concerning animal issues,” Thomas added.

This past weekend, Des Moines Police Officers responded to a report of a dog left abandoned inside a vacant house. Officers checked the house and determined that the dog appeared healthy and had access to food and water. Police said that there was no evidence of excessive waste or that the animal had been left for an extended period of time without care. The person responsible for the residence has been contacted and they told police that the dog is in the residence to prevent squatters.

“There was no evidence of abuse as the animal had food, water and shelter,” Thomas added. “Our officers reached out to our trained and certified employee that is handling Animal Control issues during our transition. Officer Batterman has been dealing with this specific situation for several weeks. It has been determined that there are no criminal violations for leaving the dog in this situation.”

Below is a breakdown of the incidents police provided having to do specifically with animals for the time period from Mar. 1 – April 25, 2022, when there were a total of 35 animal related incidents. Of the 35 calls police responded to, 22 were during business hours (8-5 Monday-Friday) and 13 were during non-business hours:

    • 11-non aggressive dog(s) running at large
    • 8-animal welfare checks
    • 4-aggressive dogs
    • 12-all other animal related calls (ducks, dead animals, etc.)

“We understand that many members of our community have strong feelings about animal welfare and that animals within our City be treated both humanely but in a manner that protects community safety,” Thomas said. “The Police Department, City Administration and City Council share this view. Our highest priority will be to continue to protect and serve this community within the legal constraints currently applied to Law Enforcement.”