Pending shelter closing affecting other counties

Friday, August 22, 2008
Zena and Zoey are two of the puppies still available for adoption at the Humane Society of Putnam County.

The looming closure of the Humane Society of Putnam County has already begun to have a trickle-down affect on neighboring communities.

"It's getting to be where people over there (in Putnam County) are getting vicious," said Chyrstll Owens, co-manager of the Clay County Humane Society in Brazil. "I had one guy tell me we weren't doing our job and cuss me out because we wouldn't come get an animal. I told him his county should be funding the humane shelter there, and they weren't."

The lack of county funding is a sore spot for Putnam County Humane Society officials.

"It seems like all the shelters in the other counties are funded but us," said Jane Irk, president of the HSPC board. "Other counties get money from the city and county governments ... and we were funded until two years ago."

Irk stressed that the Putnam County shelter is not technically closed yet, even though no animals are being accepted.

"We're still spaying and neutering," she said. "There are still people there, we've just cut staffing way back."

Owens said she gets about 25 calls a day from people in Putnam County wanting animals picked up.

"They say, 'Putnam County told us to call you,'" she said. "I don't believe that."

Sharon Davidson, office manager for the Animal Welfare League of Montgomery County in Crawfordsville, said she is also getting calls from Putnam County, but that her organization will take animals for a fee.

"I don't have any idea how many of the animals are from Putnam County, because we don't track them that way," she said. "To us, these are all cats and dogs that are potential pets."

Mary Ann Lewis, an officer at the Hendricks County Animal Control Shelter, said people from Putnam County have "dumped animals here for years," and that she has seen only a slight surge in those numbers since the impending closure of the Putnam County Shelter was announced.

"We get animals from pretty much everywhere because we don't charge," she said.

A recent $30,000 donation to the shelter from a forfeiture fund administered by Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter was earmarked for spaying and neutering and will not help the shelter stay open, Irk said.

Meanwhile, bills for propane, electric, insurance, telephone service and office supplies continue to come in to the shelter.

"We have enough money to stay open until Aug. 31," Irk said. "With another $35,000 to $40,000, we could stay open until January. We need a quick fix for the moment.

"If we could just get enough money to know we could stay open until the first of the year, we could be thinking beyond that."

Irk said news of the Putnam County shelter's plight has spread far and wide.

She gets calls from people in other Indiana counties and even other states wanting to know how they can help, but said she has heard from very few local people in that regard.

"It's disheartening," she said. "It just makes me sick."

Irk suggested the solution for the shelter may be not be government funding, but community support.

"If everybody in Putnam County gave $1, we could do it," she said. "The people have the power. Instead of calling Clay County, we should be banding together to save our own shelter."

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  • Several years back the township trustee came around to collect dog tax. I haven't had anyone come around for the past couple of years to collect this tax. Looking around at the dogs in our county, if this tax was still collected it could help the shelter. Heck with all the cats, it could help even more if owners paid a tax on them too.

    -- Posted by bigjohndeere on Fri, Aug 22, 2008, at 12:07 AM
  • why arent we doing something about this?!? why dosent the shelter have a fundraiser or something? get the schools involved? I remember having gone to the shelter with my class in grade school, do they not do that anymore? there is no reason for this county to let this happen! people are sure fast enough to call them when they have a problem, or drop off animals when they feel they need to! none of us want a bunch of strays running around town. and as far as the bills go they are a non for profit arent they? have they tried to get the electric company to write it off? make some kind of donation? have they talked to local buisnesses about donations? wal-mart? and why arent they getting county funding? this is very upsetting! and this comunity needs to pull together and do something about it.

    -- Posted by amberjewel on Fri, Aug 22, 2008, at 12:10 AM
  • There hasn't been anyone coming around collecting "dog tax" for several years. It was sent through the mail for you to fill out and send back in yourself. Then the county said it was to much work for so little money and stopped it. The shelter picked it up on a trial bases. People could go to the shelter or mail in the money with the info needed for the staff to fill out the form and mail the tag to them. Of the $5.00 that was collected for the tax, the shelter only received seventy-five cents of it, the rest went back to the county.

    Everyone in the county uses the service of the shelter weather they are pet owners or not. Strays show up at their home lost or dumped (this option will be happening more), or driving down the road and find a starved or hit animal along the road. The shelter was there to take it in.

    Like Jane said, If everyone gives even $1 it will save humans and pets a lot of heartache.

    -- Posted by mad-mom on Fri, Aug 22, 2008, at 6:27 AM
  • The humane society has closed down twice and both times it was because of poor management and disease. No one had audited the books for 4 years. A 'no-kill" shelter is not the way to go. All animals are not adoptable.

    There has been a constant turn over in board members, no leadership, no financial responsibility. If the county bails them out, the direct management of the shelter should be directly responsible to the county and the board of the humane society eliminated, as they have proven that they can't run the organization.

    -- Posted by albert on Fri, Aug 22, 2008, at 6:45 AM
  • Maybe the City of Greencastle can get an animal shelter up and running. At least all would know it would be run efficiently and could be self supporting. There sure are alot of animals in this town, something needs to give.

    -- Posted by Reader2 on Fri, Aug 22, 2008, at 6:53 AM
  • This is pathetic, putnam county should be ashamed. This is the only county Ive seen without a shelter or at least a link or partner with one nearby. This is very sad.

    -- Posted by flygal026 on Fri, Aug 22, 2008, at 7:07 AM
  • When the shelter is completely closed where will I pay my dog tax? Last year when I paid the dog tax for the first time in this county I was shocked it was only $5.00. I have lived in Michigan where it was $20.00 a year. I had to show proof my pet had all shots up to date and most important that my pet had been spayed or neutered.Folks had to be responsible pet owners in Michigan.So where will I pay my dog tax this year which is almost due? I had trouble finding out last year where to pay the tax and finally someone told me the Humane Shelter and I went there an took care of it. Also in Michigan unless you are breeding a certain type of dog or cat to sell you had to have paperwork and pay a fee (breeders license) and show proof with that paperwork to get a dog license for good reason why that pet was not neutered or spayed. This prevents alot of unwanted puppies and cats being born that folks don't want and dump wherever. I have seen numerous cats and dogs running all over this town late at night and in the early morning hours.Also in Michigan if I let my dog run loose and if that pet had been picked up by the dog shelter it would of cost me 80.00 to get my pet back and if not spayed or neutered I would of not gotten my pet back until the pet was neutered or spayed which I would have had to pay for and after that pay the 80.00 to bail my dog out of the shelter.

    There are many options as I know well from living in another community to make money to support the Humane Shelter. I feel this community can come together and keep our Humane Society Shelter going including pet owners being educated in being accountable pet owners.This should be the responsibility of all of Putnam County not just the city of Greencastle.

    -- Posted by peace2019 on Fri, Aug 22, 2008, at 11:42 AM
  • seriously people. Stop whining about this. I hate it just as much as the other people. I feel bad for these mistreated animals that get left on the Humane Society's doorstep like trash. It is our fault the HS is underfunded. It is our fault our family pets are humpin like jack rabbits. It is our fault that we sit at the computer and writed stupid little blogs like I am doing and not going out to do something about this. These pets need love, but not from Putnam county. We treat our animals like garbage. Not saying there aren't a few good people out there still. I admire those who have donated to the shelter. I have and will continue to do so. You cannot place the blame on our poor government. Our government isn't dependable haven't you guys guessed it. The only thing our government is worried about is getting the idiot former sheriff off the hook when he stole our money. Hey if it was my decision i would have frisbee pay to keep the HS running for his sentence.

    -- Posted by WhySoSerious on Fri, Aug 22, 2008, at 5:32 PM
  • Well Bam, your idea of $80.00 to get your animal back is a good idea but some folks thought it was terrible to pay $20.00 a day that their animal was at the shelter, not to go over the adoption price of $120 for a dog, $80 for a cat. Those people would give their opinion of "buying" their animal back then walk out without them. It is hard to find good homes for all these unwanted animal----why push your luck?

    And also it is in the works for the animal ordinance. Go to the Shelters web sight for a look. There is a petition for an Animal Control Officer in Putnam County. Also i think it is Bainbridge, correct me if I'm wrong, that is putting into effect the spay neuter ordinance. Slowly but shirley it will hit other towns.

    -- Posted by mad-mom on Fri, Aug 22, 2008, at 8:51 PM
  • I know of a guy who allows his dogs to run loose-he says he can't afford to have them fixed. So, they are having pups, running deer, and attack neighbors' pets. I see strays in Bainbridge all the time. There are 2 low-cost spay/neuter clinics in Putnam County- 1 in Cloverdale, and 1 at the shelter. If you can't afford to fix your pets, you should not have pets. Here's the thing- a pet is something that shares your home with you- not chained up in the farthest corner of the yard. YOU are responsible for feeding, loving, sheltering, and caring for a pet. They are totally dependant on people. Dogs are domesticated and are unable to fend for themselves. There is a famous quote "...a society can be judged by the way in which it treats it's animals..." PUTNAM COUNTY is beautiful, but backward & way behind the times!!

    -- Posted by Essie on Sat, Aug 23, 2008, at 7:46 AM
  • *

    Maybe a shelter that kills would be cheap enough to make funding it feasible. What the county is willing to pay for is what the county needs.

    -- Posted by tackleberry65 on Wed, Aug 27, 2008, at 8:28 AM
  • *

    Better yet, I could play the part of Carl Spackler and the stray animals could play the part of the gopher. The commissioner could be Sandy, Diana LaViolette could be Judge Smails, casting Lacey Underall would be fairly easy. Who would be Ty Webb, Danny Noonan, and Al Czervik, though?

    I just need a golf course shed to live in, one of those mini-trucks, a .22 mag rifle, unlimited ammunition, and a salary of $10k or so.

    "Freeze Gopher!"

    -- Posted by tackleberry65 on Wed, Aug 27, 2008, at 8:47 AM
  • It upsets me that there is no ordinance against cats running loose in town. Why should they be any different than dogs?

    I have spent hundreds of dollars on vet bills this year because my indoor animals keep getting diseases from all the cats running loose in the neighborhood. I can't have any nice porch furniture because all the neighborhood tom cats spray urine all over my porches and ruin whatever is outside. They poop all over my yard, and lay on my lawn furniture and infest it with fleas. Two litters have been born under my deck.

    I am a responsible pet owner. My dog and my cat are all up to date on shots, both spayed. They are not allowed outside to roam the streets at will. I can't let my cat outside on a leash because she gets sick everytime I take her out.

    I would like to see some city ordinances addressing cats.

    -- Posted by Dicey Riley on Sun, Aug 31, 2008, at 10:16 AM
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