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Indiana police help animal shelter by fostering seized dogs

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CROWN POINT, Ind.  — Police officers in northwest Indiana are helping take care of seized dogs because a local animal shelter is overwhelmed.

Lake County police told The Northwest Indiana Times that officers discovered almost 70 maltreated dogs last month in a poorly ventilated garage near Crown Point.

The sheriff is allowing officers to take dogs home to relieve overcrowding in the Lake County Sheriff’s Animal Adoption and Control Center, said Dan Murchek, the county’s assistant police chief.

“It is expensive when you get this many dogs, especially those with health care needs. These particular dogs had some medical issues, so our officers are helping, taking them to the veterinarian,” he said.

There are more than 90 dogs in total at the shelter, along with some cats, Murchek said.

The foster arrangement of the seized animals is being kept within the department and isn’t open to the public, Murchek said.

“Our people are vetted. We know who they are. We have had officers in the past who have helped out when we have been overcrowded to take dogs home temporarily,” he said.

The prosecutor’s office has charged 26-year-old Steve Rajcinoski with animal mutilation, animal cruelty, practicing veterinary medicine without a license and failing to register as a commercial breeder. He’s free on bond, and his lawyers have requested the dogs be returned.

The police department is keeping custody of the dogs until the Lake Superior Court issues a ruling in the case.

If the court forfeits the dogs to the county, the animals would go up for adoption to the public, Murchek said.

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