I am writing you regarding the all too common concern for animal welfare in our community after hearing about yet another shocking dog abuse case here in Clinton, Iowa.

This story has many in our community wondering who can help us with this issue? When will this stop? Who will be our champion for the abused? Who can make us proud once again to be from Clinton, Iowa? Hopefully our elected officials can rise up to the issues at hand. We need a full-time animal welfare advocate in this community — not a dog catcher — which we don’t have either!

I am writing to beg you all to defend our animal friends and help change and uphold laws to protect them! We as a community need to act! I cannot believe that our Mayor, our sitting City Council and our City Attorney don’t have a dog or some pet that they love dearly. Please, please, please contact your entire City Council, your elected officials at both the City and State level to stand up against these disgusting criminals in our community.

Always when this topic is approached the reply is funding — that an additional salary isn’t in the budget. Well I think we need to dig down deep and find a budget for this position because it is part of an even bigger issue within our community, which is decline. A community that cannot protect itself from crime, abuse and neglect is a community that is at the verge of dying.

New residents are not attracted to a community riddled with crime, abuse and neglect. We need to address all these issues as a whole, as an investment in our community and future. No amount of beautification can make up for this. I don’t care how nice Riverfront looks, how wonderful our parks and recs are, how gorgeous Eagle Point Lodge is, how many hiking and biking trails we have, or how nice it is to cruise on the river — nobody wants to live in a crime-ridden town full of crumbling real estate — nobody.

Our little town makes the news all too often for negative reasons — crime, abuse, decline and neglect. Sadly, it’s almost embarrassing to say Clinton is your hometown anymore. The town is getting a stigma associated with it. I’m actually heartbroken about it. Everywhere I go I hear other citizens saying the same thing over and over — that “our wonderful police force do their job and bring criminals in, but the courts don’t punish the crimes these days!”

Seems a lot of these criminals are not from recognized Clinton families. That’s because outsiders are now coming in to set up shop in a town that has gained a reputation for not punishing their crimes justly! Clinton has become known as a town where you can get away from jail. Crime, drugs, abuse all go hand in hand. Many of the animal-abusing criminals are mixed up in the nasty drug epidemic in this town as well. They breed dogs for selling to fight and/or bet and the income supports their drugs. Keep in mind that animal abusers are often times child abusers, spousal abusers, elder abusers, drug abusers and pedophiles. We cannot afford to have these nasty criminals living in our little town. Maybe we could clean up two problems at once? Wouldn’t that be the cherry on top!

So can’t you see — we need an animal welfare officer as an adjunct to the police force in Clinton, Iowa. It’s got to start somewhere.

Let’s act! Let’s take our town back!

Phoebe Soenksen,


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