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BCSO: Animal abuse allegations are false

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Posted at 4:18 PM, Feb 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-12 16:18:22-05

BOONE COUNTY, Ind. -- The Boone County Sheriff's Office says allegations of animal neglect made against a Boone County family in a local news report are false and are part of an ongoing dispute between neighbors. 

"The McCormick’s are heartbroken and outraged at the false accusation from their neighbors," a press release from the Boone County Sheriff's Office said,

“I cannot believe the news would report something as severe as this without checking the facts first. We are very disappointed in the process. We are in full cooperation with the Boone County Sheriff’s Office, the Health Department and the Humane Society, to clear our name," Mr. McCormick said in the release. 

A timeline provided by the Boone County Sheriff's Office in the release states deputies responded to a civil dispute between the neighbors on Jan. 4 after the McCormick's called to complain that a neighbor was digging in his yard and threatened to cut his septic system. 

Three days later, the neighbors called the Boone County Sheriff's Office for a welfare check on children in the McCormick's home. Deputies responded with Child Protective Services and found sufficient heat, food, water and shelter. 

On Feb. 4, Mrs. McCormick was admitted and hospitalized for open heart surgery.

The next day, a friend checked on the family's animals. The day after that Mr. McCormick went home to feed and water the animals. That same day, neighbors called to report a welfare check on animals, stating there was no heat in the home and they were concerned for the animals. Deputies checked the home and verified that food, water and a portable heater were in the home. 

On Feb. 7, another friend of the McCormick's checked on the animals. 

Three days later, on Feb. 10, the neighbor called to report dogs abandoned in the McCormick's home. Deputies informed the neighbor of an ongoing investigation between the health department, human society and Boone County Sheriff's Office. Mrs. McCormick was discharged from the hospital and returned home that same day. 

“We have inspected the animal’s coats, nails, teeth and body weight.  All 5 were deemed in good shape.  We are currently helping the McCormick’s with some vet care in their time of need. The animals have been voluntarily moved to another family member’s home while Mrs. McCormick heals.  We will continue to monitor the wellbeing of the animals," Mike Hancock with the Humane Society for Boone County said in the release. 

“At this time the residence is being condemned for minimal housing standards. We will continue our investigation into the status of the home," Greg Inman with the Boone County Health Department added. 

“It is critical in situations like this to make sure all information is gathered from all parties before information is disseminated. These animals were not abandoned, nor left without food, water or shelter.  As you can see above, they were consistently being checked on, and were found in good health by experts. The cooperation between the McCormick’s, the Humane Society, the Health Department and the Sheriff’s Office has found a positive resolution to a serious accusation," Boone County Sheriff Michael Nielsen said in the release. 

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