Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Jay County Pollution

At least the awful stench gives you a little warning of what you are about to see. After all, nothing that smells that bad can look very good.

Animal carcasses -- by one count more than 250 of them -- have been scattered along a steep bank that leads down to a small creek along Spooky Hollow Road between Jay County roads 600-S and 700-S.

Some of the carcasses appear to be in garbage bags, and others are just scattered around the area. There's the occasional body part here and there, a skull or two rolled up against the base of a tree and other rubbish like tires and broken glass dumped there as well.

Flooding caused by last week's rain might have washed some of the animals downstream.

Otherwise, it would be a lovely area. Really.

The winding, gravel road is called Spooky Hollow because the countless trees along it darken the sky when the leaves are out, according to residents. And in the fall, when the trees show their colors, it's really a pleasant drive.

But not right now.

Two women walking in the area last week discovered the carcasses, and the recent rains have delayed clean-up efforts by county crews.

County engineer Dan Watson said he thought the cleanup could begin sometime today.

Officials said it didn't appear that the carcasses had been there very long because they had not been ravaged by other animals.

County highway supervisor Ken Wellman said he was concerned about safety procedures during the clean-up process because of the high water.

"We are looking at different ways to handle the situation," he said. "(Jay County Conservation Officer) Dwane Ford and I are working together to see how to best handle the situation."

Nearby residents didn't seem too upset. No one claimed it was the work of aliens or a secret cult.

"I'm a little concerned about it," said Tina Miller, who has lived in the area for about 20 years. "Way out here no one ever sees anything because the houses are so far apart."

But she's not unduly worried. "Stuff like that happens," she shrugged.

Oddly enough, some of the carcasses had been skinned, including dogs, cats, raccoons and coyotes among others. But a couple of calf carcasses didn't appear to have been molested in any way.

Conservation officer Ford is leading the investigation. He could not be reached for comment Monday, but others say the investigation has led toward Mercer County, just across the state line in Ohio, because numerous pets have been reported missing there.

Jay County officials say the carcasses will be buried on county-owned property near the Jay County Highway Department along County Road 300-N.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Jay County sheriff's department, (260) 726-8188.

Routledge, Ric. "Hundreds of animal carcasses dumped in Jay County." The Star Press (2007): 27 Mar 2007 http://www.thestarpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070327/NEWS01/703270322.

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