Animal Control officer handles dozens of calls daily
Calls involving stray, aggressive and neglected animals average 50-60 a day in Indianapolis and investigating those calls is not easy.
Kim Wolsiffer's day always starts with a long list of run. As an animal care and control officer, her job is to keep people and animals safe. She works just southeast of downtown, the area with the most calls by far.
At one home, she checked on reports of an aggressive pit bull. There's a dog dish, but apparently no dog.
"The owners say, at one time, they owned a pit bull, but they since got rid of it," Wolsiffer said.
The next stop was a possible case of neglect. No one answered the door, but while taking pictures of a second dog out back, Wolsiffer is confronted.
"I didn't do nothing wrong. It's a old dog," said a man at the home.
Wolsiffer spent 20 minutes with the man and his daughter. The dog is old, but not neglected.
"That was a difficult situation. He has one dog, 15 years old, and it has obvious health issues and he got it when his wife passed away," Wolsiffer said.
Animal Care and Control averages 30,000 calls a year. Most are strays.
Wolsiffer shared advice for the owner of two dogs, one of which she found loose on the street.
"The idea is, you put a stake in the ground and a swivel, so it prevents them from getting tangled up," she told the owner.
The harder cases are one like that of a stray puppy that's sick and in need of care.
"We'll take you to get some help, okay?" she tells the dog.
The puppy represents the shelter's biggest problem - too many unwanted animals and not enough being spayed and neutered.
"I found her in the front yard late at night. Don't know if she's lost or she was dumped," a resident tells Wolsiffer.
The next stop involved a stray cat. It's not injured, but the woman who took the cat in can't care for it.
"It's just hanging out, pooping in the neighbor's yard and I just can't afford him," she said.
The cat is friendly, clearly someone's pet. The woman who found it has second thoughts, worries that the cat will be put down.
"We'll adopt him out. We'll try," Wolsiffer said.
The cat doesn't want to go, but once in Wolsiffer's truck, it will join hundreds of others needing a home.
Wolsiffer picked up one more animal before her shift ended, from a woman who said she was watching the dog for a friend who never came back. A little girl at the home has become attached and is heartbroken.
For Wolsiffer, it's a tough job, but rewarding when she's able to help. Sadly, though, her work is never done.
Last year, Animal Care and Control euthanized more than 8,000 animals. While that's still high, the number has been declining.