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Tracy Monniger

It’s already been a long day for Mercer County Humane Officer Tracy Monniger around 10 a.m. Thursday morning.

Taking a break from her role as the only humane officer in Mercer County, Monniger explains that her day started at 3:45 a.m. this morning. She got a phone call this morning because a dog had managed to get itself stuck in a water drain.

“I just had to go in and coax him out,” Monniger said. “Once I got him close to the end, I just grabbed him and got him out.”

Then, Monniger turns toward another goal of hers. She wants people to understand that Animal Control aren’t bad people- they’re just at a home to check on the welfare of an animal.

Sometimes, she gets a little bit of trepidation from people when she goes to their homes. People believe that animal control is there to find them guilty and take their animals away, but Monniger says that couldn’t be further from the truth.

When someone calls, sometimes they see an animal being treated in a way that’s not in their view of how to treat an animal but it doesn’t qualify as abuse because each person has their own view of how to care for their animals.

Monniger said people suspecting neighbors of abusing their animals need to look and check the conditions of the animals. By law, dogs are required to have a doghouse with proper bedding, food and water.

“Proper bedding is usually a dog bed or woodchips,” she said. “Dogs need a place to be able to stay warm in the winter.”

Then, Monniger goes through a typical day in her shoes. Once a call comes in, Monniger is dispatched to investigate it. Usually, she’ll speak to the accused and check on the conditions of the animal.

What happens after, depends on the circumstances. In cases of obvious abuse, the person maybe cited or be sent to court. In extreme cases, Monniger said that the animal can be removed from the home “right then and there.”

Monniger didn’t stay on the negative aspect of her job very long though. She turned to a recent case of horse poisoning in an attempt to warn the people of Mercer County to watch their animals.

“A neighbor of a farm had cut down a wild cherry bush and threw it in a neighbor’s field,” she said. “Some horses got a hold of it and died instantly. That’s something for people to watch for. They need to be careful and check what they’re doing with things that could harm animals.”

Then, Monniger came back to something she said many times before.

“We’re just here for the animals,” she said before beginning another round of calls and investigations.

- Contact Matt Christian at

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