Humane Shelter temporarily closing

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

By mid-August, the Putnam County Humane Shelter will temporarily close due to financial issues.

"It is really a health and safety issue," Shelter Board Representative Lynn Bohmer told Putnam County Commissioners Jim Baird and Gene Beck at Monday night's meeting.

Due to cuts in funding and needed building repairs the shelter cannot continue to operate. Board members are hoping that temporarily closing the shelter will give them enough time to raise the necessary $20,000 in reserve funds they need to supplement the $13,000 monthly costs to operate the facility.

The shelter had its funding cut several months ago and has been operating on donations and their reserve funds.

Animals currently housed at the shelter will be sent to foster homes and adopted homes. A large number were recently part of a large transport to the east coast.

Animals on the east coast are spayed and neutered and have fines of anywhere from $25-50 attached to those who do not neuter animals. They all also pay a $10 tagging fee Bohmer told the commissioners.

After closing the facility, the shelter board will continue to fundraise in hopes of getting enough money to eventually re-open. They will continue to provide low cost micro-chipping and vaccines for animals.

"Since I have been working out at the shelter, we did not receive one animal that has been inoculated for rabies or neutered," Bohmer said. "This is a safety issue for all animals.

Closing the shelter will cause problems for the county as well as towns like Bainbridge and Roachdale who already have animal control issues.

"Dogs are going to get dumped," said Bohmer. "People already dump them over the fence at the shelter. It's going to get worse," she warned the commissioners.

A discussion ensured about enforcing and collecting the dog tag tax in the county.

"I get a notice in the mail and send it in," Beck told the group. "I know a lot of people don't send it in."

Putnam County's dog tax is $5. One dollar of that goes to the state. Each tag costs $.75 that only leaves $3.25 per animal per year.

"That's not much money to work with," commented Beck.

Beck and Baird agreed that if all the towns could come up with funds for a countywide program the county could also offer some funds. The two suggested Bohmer work with a group and include one of the commissioners to try to come up with a solution.

In the meantime, after August, stray dogs and cats will remain a nuisance and have no home.

In other business the commissioners agreed to review an ordinance requiring a reflective symbol on structures with engineered lumber. This is for the protection of firefighters who may have a shortened period of time to determine whether to enter a burning structure.

Putnam County Emergency Management Director Kim Hyten told the board that firefighters use to have about 20 minutes burn time to enter a structure.

"With so many building materials having prefabricated joists and truss rafters which are held together by a glue which burns and falls apart at 400-500 degrees, it is more dangerous to enter," he explained.

Commissioners took the ordinance under advisement.

Hyten introduced Indiana State Department Emergency Management Director John Schoffer who asked the board to approve a fire training grant for $140,000.

"It costs $800-$1,000 for basic training for firefighters. This grant pays for any firefighters who need training and apply for it in seven counties including Putnam. The grant was approved.

Jules Echelbarger from Rural Transit appeared before the commissioners to explain some of the services they could offer Putnam County residents. She proposed providing a county sweep service from approximately 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. daily plus additional rides upon demand. These would be individuals needing rides to medical facilities, shopping or recreational areas.

"Many daycare centers and Parks and Recreation programs use the ride program during the summer for visits to the swimming pool or parks," she told the group.

Echelbarger is also eager to work with the senior centers to supplement their transportation programs. Proposed fares are $.75 for travel in one county and $1.50 for adults in two counties and $1 for children under 15.

More information will be available at the July County Council meeting when Rural Transit makes a proposal to members.

The next meeting of the county commissioners will be Monday, June 30 at 9 a.m. at the County Annex.

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  • They need to look at the dog tax process. I mailed mine in two years ago through the humane society. I have never received an annual notice, even after paying the tax last year. I never even thought about it this year until reading this article. There are enough uncollected dollars in this one item alone to make up much of the needed funds. Most people don't even know there is a dog tax.

    Closing the shelter would be a huge step back ward! I will make a donation to the HSPC tonight when I get home. Anyone else out there care to join me?

    -- Posted by VolunteerFF on Tue, Jun 17, 2008, at 6:53 AM
  • Killing animals is NOT the answer, responsible pet ownership is. Spay and neuter your pets so we don't have all these animals that need to go to the shelter.

    Adopt from a shelter and stop buying puppy mill dogs. Punish the back yard breeders that pump out puppies then dump what they can't sell on the shelters.

    SPOT is a low cost not for profit spay and neuter clinic and wellness clinic that is in Cloverdale and they do a great job! They are located at the intersection of 231 and 42 in the old marina building.

    Donations aren't the only thing the PCHS needs....they need a county of people that cares enough to want to donate to help out the pet overpopulation.

    I would like to see a breeders tax instilled as well as the dog tax and a kennel tax as well.Not some 10.00 per dog breeders tax but a 200.00 tax per dog. If they are gonna make money breeding, they should be taxed on the money they make.

    Do the right thing Putnam County and this would not be a problem.

    -- Posted by Petrescuer on Tue, Jun 17, 2008, at 7:37 AM
  • The pets that aren't being adopted, are they being taken to other shelters to see if they have better luck there? Why be so evil and cruel by putting them down? Instead of keeping these animals locked up without any human affection, find someone who's trained enough to volunteer their time to come in and work with them. Try to put yourself in their position. They need love like we do.

    -- Posted by what_it's_worth on Tue, Jun 17, 2008, at 12:24 PM
  • I am so saddened to hear that the animal shelter is shutting down. I have seen so many pets in need. It is absolutely shameful that this community would allow this to happen. If your idea of having a pet is chaining it out in the back yard, or letting it run loose unaltered, then you have no right to own a pet. If you can't afford to have it fixed or vaccinated, then don't get a pet. With the new low cost clinic in Cloverdale, there is NO EXCUSE for not taking proper care of your pet.

    I have seen horses with no shelter, exposed to bad weather- I know of one owner that only feeds his once a day. One guy has a pack of unvaccinated, unaltered dogs that he allows to run loose, attacking livestock and wild baby animals. Killing unwanted pets is NOT the answer. This state needs strict spay-neuter laws, with fines for non-compliance, and fees for breeders that crank out puppies just to make a buck.

    Oh, and people, DONT LEAVE PETS IN CARS, even in warm weather. Cracking the windows is not enough. Try wearing a fur coat on in a hot car and see how you like it !! It takes less than 10 minutes in a hot car to kill a dog.

    -- Posted by Essie on Tue, Jun 17, 2008, at 4:59 PM
  • Looks like a good place for the county to open up an Animal Control Office. They now have the facility and it could be self funded. There is too many animals running loose and no way to enforce the county's ordinance. Create a jail for the animals and make the owners pay a bond to get the animals back.

    -- Posted by concerned3 on Wed, Jun 18, 2008, at 1:11 AM
  • This is very sad. I would be more than glad to help out with fundraisers and volunteer work to help keep the shelter open. I agree with the dog tax, we pay the dog tax and buy a kennels license every year. We also make sure that our dogs have nice pens up off the ground and make sure that they have their yearly vaccinations. I hear of so many people that accidentally have their female dogs get pregnant and they end up not wanting the pups and they kill them. This is not right. Those puppies are a living thing that GOD created. It wasn't the dog or the puppies fault, it was the owners because they are not responsible enough to take care of their animals like they should. PEOPLE GET REAL! DON'T BUY ANIMALS IF YOU CAN'T OR DON'T WANT TO TAKE CARE OF THEM. IF THERE WAS MORE RESPONSIBLE ANIMAL OWNERS OUT THERE, THEN THERE WOULDN'T BE SO MANY PROBLEMS WITH UNWANTED DOGS AND CATS.

    -- Posted by SUZY Q on Wed, Jun 18, 2008, at 9:35 AM
  • It all comes down to spay and neutering! The shelter is or was there for people who could not care for their pet for unforeseen reasons or an animal got loose/lost. They also helped out with low cost vaccinating, spay and neutering, micro chipping and euthanasia for a sick family pet.

    The county dropped the funding and the fundraising is hard. Adoptions are slow so the transports out east were a life saver but that cost money that just wasn't there and volunteers are few and far between. The volunteers that do help out are God sends. If is is an hour a week or an hour a month every minute counts. There will be fundraisers set up in the near future so please Putnam County step up and help out. Watch the paper and help get this place up and going again. There is no blame to put on anyone. If you want to know what it takes to keep a shelter going, go out there,(you may have to walk up because the gate maybe locked) you will not be turned away. Go job shadow an employee to see how hard of work it is for so little money and ask questions. It is not a sad place. It is a stop over until their "for ever home" comes to get them.

    Yes, I am a employee/volunteer.

    -- Posted by mad-mom on Wed, Jun 18, 2008, at 8:12 PM
  • Yes it is horrible that the shelter is closing. First off, can anyone honestly say that ALL of the animals will be adopted or fostered before it closes? Last time I checked there were close to 40 dogs and nearly 80 cats & kittens (WAY over the capacity of the shelter), all living in poor condition--no food or water for hours at a time, just for example. If the employees/board are being so rude and strict as to who adopts them, they should be the same for who fosters. Good luck with that. The reason the shelter is closing IS because of current employees and Board members. Two or three years ago (actually up until 8-10 months ago) the shelter did put animals down--but not because there wasn't enough room. It was for health issues or agressive behavior. It is sad to say that though we would like to believe all animals can be "saved" and find "forever homes," that they in fact CANNOT... WAKE UP current employees/Board members!!! WALK the dogs out there (don't just put them in a cage)! When I used to go there, EVERY dog got WALKED ON A LEASH at least 2 times a day, even if they ran in a cage all day!! Make sure they have water--especially in the hot summer weather. Socialize them, otherwise they can, and sometimes do go "crazy" (YES it happens). And perhaps most importantly, use the money you do have wisely. What is more important, saving one animal for $400, or paying the light & water bills so the rest of the animals can be cared for?

    If the poeple of Putnam County would be more responsible, there would be far less homeless animals in the county. SPAY & NEUTER people! It doesn't cost that much, and it helps the community as a whole!

    And lastly, YES I am a FORMER employee/ volunteer :-)

    -- Posted by udontknow on Sun, Jun 22, 2008, at 10:31 AM
  • It breaks my to hear of the closing of the shelter. I wish people would be more responsible with their pets. I feed several cats where I live. Need to get people in the shelter to run it wisely.

    -- Posted by on Wed, Jun 25, 2008, at 7:17 PM
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