Arrests create chaos

Lisa Hammer

 Henry County has hired a farmer, Rich Nelson of Cambridge, to be interim animal control officer and is in the process of hiring an interim secretary following recent arrests.

 The animal control officer, John C. Beckman, 42, of Kewanee, was arrested Friday, July 10, on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of cannabis 10 to 30 grams and possession of a controlled substance.

 Also on Friday, the animal control office secretary, Julie B. Tuttle, 43, of Kewanee, was arrested for unlawful purchase of psudophedrine.

 Both have been released on bond.

 Kippy Nelson, chairman of the county board’s public safety committee, said the two were placed on suspension without pay by Dr. D.R. Modder, the Kewanee veterinarian who administers the animal control department.

 Ms. Nelson said Sheriff Gib Cady helped take care of the animals over the weekend after the arrests, and by Monday, July 13, the county had hired Rich Nelson, who she pointed out is no relation.

 Ms. Nelson said no applications for the interim secretary position are being sought as she expects to hire the second person by Monday.

 She said in addition to the year-round chores — feeding the animals, cleaning pens, exercising the animals, making sure they’ve had shots, responding to calls for stray animals and calls from people who want animals, and calls about dog tags and dog bites — the office now needs to submit a budget for the year starting Dec. 1 without a regular staff person to assist.

 She pointed out the office’s vehicle has a lot of miles on it. She’s not sure whether they’ll need to replace it this year.

“ They’ve been very busy. It’s an office and checks need to be deposited for people paying for dog tags,” she said.

 Weather-related issues, from the heat of the summer to the bitter cold of winter, also add to the work, she said.

 “It’s full-time,” Ms. Nelson added.

 According to a new organizational chart, the animal control office was placed under the county board through the public safety committee.