Uphold animal cruelty laws in Meade county, South Dakota.

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To many South Dakotans, our pets are priceless and valued family members. To date, animals are viewed as property. Yet property with a price tag is more valuable, thus worthy of law enforcements time.

Additionally, current ordinances state that "it is unlawful for any persons to tease, bait or in any way bother any animal not belonging to him or not legally under his/her control." Yet the Meade county sheriffs department is not upholding this law. 

What we want: (read our story below)

1)A property owner may trap wildlife on his or her own property but may not bait and trap dogs or cats. If a dog or cat is trapped, they must be returned to the owner or taken to a local animal shelter. They may not be killed, disposed of or relocated to anywhere other than a shelter. If an animal is unwanted on the property, bait should not be used as encouragement. The above is considered animal cruelty and will be punished to the full extent of the law. 

2) If a trap is rented, it must be registered and clearly labeled where the trap came from. If it is a personal trap, it must be registered in the county and a phone number must be provided on the trap. 

3) Barn cats and communities who participate in the care of feral cats must participate in a Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) program. It is the responsibility of the owner or caretakers that any animal under their care may not cause damage to another persons property. 

A neighbor in the Black Hawk community has been trapping and "allegedly disposing" of cats since 2017. Some have been part of a feral community that was cared for, others were loved family members. Instead of speaking to the authorities or the group of neighbors that cared for these cats (they took care of our mouse and snake problem), the neighbors took it upon themselves to indiscriminately bait, trap and "dispose" of the cats in our community. 

In August of 2018 we discovered what was happening to the cats disappearing in our neighborhood. We made it known that we were aware of what was going on and the trapping and disposal stopped, as well as the disappearances. In March 2019, the trapping began again, this time they took SOME of the cats to the Pennington county animal shelter where six, one of which an escaped house cat, was euthanized. One pet cat was returned home but four are still unaccounted for, two of the four that have not been accounted for are loved pets. 

There is proof of baited and set traps on this property on many occasions during 2018, none of the animal shelters have a record of these neighbors bringing cats in 2018. The last record was in 2017 and then nothing until March 2019. 

Unfortunately the local law enforcements hands are tied because we have no laws regulating cats in Meade county. Therefore, looking into the missing cats and proving they were disposed of is a waste of resources. One wonders if these loved animals had a monetary value, if it would be investigated further. I will also add that it is in the Meade County Ordinances (available on their website) that no animal shall be baited by anyone who does not own the animal. Again, nothing is being done about this. 

Please sign our petition and let the Meade County Commissioners office know that animals are not disposable commodities to South Dakotans!