Things got worse this week for the embattled police chief of Hamburg, who’s now charged with animal cruelty for shooting several dogs. He was called to a rented house in mid-September because the owner said a tenant’s pets were wrecking the property. Chief Nick Millsap says the property smelled of animal waste and the animals didn’t seem well cared for, but then he couldn’t find a pound or vet’s office that would keep the animals.
Pottawatamie County Attorney Matt Wilber says his office was asked to review the case. Wilber says as he understands it, the chief removed the dogs and ended up taking them out in the country where most of the animals were shot. One was killed by crushing its head. The tenant who owned the dogs was in jail at the time but said her teenage daughter had been caring for the dogs. She sued in small-claims court and on Tuesday a judge awarded her 35-hundred dollars in her suit against the city and Chief Millsap.
On Thursday, Wilber’s office filed charges against the chief. Fremont County Attorney Vicky Danley lives in Hamburg and works with the officers involved, so she stepped aside to avoid a conflict of interest. Wilber says the court asked his office to investigate and he made the decision to file charges. Wilber says news reports about the killing of the dogs spurred a strong public reaction.
Wilber says he’s had “numerous calls” from the public since taking on the case and even heard from the national headquarters of the Humane Society out of Washington, D.C., so he knows it’s attracted public interest. The prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for seven counts of animal abuse Thursday morning. Millsap turned himself in and was released on his own recognizance. Wilber says a preliminary hearing date will be scheduled in Fremont County before long. If Millsap’s found guilty he could face up to two years in prison on each of the seven counts.