Commissioners accept money for humane society
Putnam County Commissioners approved accepting a donation of $30,000 from the Forfeiture Fund administered by Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter to the Humane Society.
"I don't know that we can do this every year, but this year we want to offer the funds to help with spaying and neutering animals," Bookwalter told commissioners Kristina Warren, Gene Beck and Jim Baird at Monday's meeting.
Due to cuts in funding and needed building repairs, the Humane Shelter announced in June that they would have to close at least temporarily.
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.
Bookwalter appeared before the board with Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray and board members and staff from the Humane Shelter.
They presented the board with a detailed log of animal complaints from all agencies in the county. Last year 341 basic animal complaints (nuisance, excessive barking, running at large) were received. So far in 2008, 304 of those complaints have been filed.
There were 64 animal bites and complaints in 2007 and there have been 38 complaints so far this year.
The group also provided some background on the number of animals surrendered. In 2002, 512 dogs and 280 cats were given to the shelter. In 2004 those numbers increased to 852 dogs and 678 cats.
A portion of the $30,000 will be used for a spay and neuter program. The group pointed out that the states who do not have an over abundance of shelter animals are those who enact and enforce strict spay and neuter ordinances.
Mayor Murray pointed out the Hendricks County Animal Control program that is a county funded program with 18 staff members, as being very effective in controlling animals.
Animals are destroyed at the Hendricks County facility after three days.
Commissioner Gene Beck commented that he thought that was too soon to get rid of animals and that pet owners sometimes need more time to find their pets.
"That's awful quick," he said.
Board member Jane Burk also pointed out that animals are still being dumped at the facility despite it not accepting new animals.
"I have found an animal everyday dumped over the fence," said Burk. "And, none of them have been spayed or neutered. If you start adding up the number of puppies from those five being left every week, you end up with hundreds of dogs," she said.
Burk also told the board that they still have animals that need adoption.
All three commissioners agreed that animal control is an issue throughout the county and none want to see the Humane Shelter stop operations.
Commissioners, the City of Greencastle and several of the surrounding communities are all working together to find a solution and a way to pay for the Humane Shelter to re-open.
The Board accepted the Prosecutor's donation with the condition that the Humane Shelter Board agree to stop charging police and other law officials a $15 per animal fee for each animal taken to the shelter.