Animal control plan may move forward without licensing fee

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A plan to reopen the Putnam County Humane Shelter is likely to move forward in 2014, but without the proposed licensing fees earlier discussed by the Putnam County Commissioners.

In October, the commissioners received information from the county's animal control advisory board regarding reopening the shelter for the first time since 2011.

What was proposed was a partnership between the county and the Humane Society of Putnam County that would include reopening the shelter as well as animal control officers.

Annual costs for operating the shelter were estimated at $180,000 to $200,000, according to County Councilman Phil Gick who chaired the committee.

Part of the funding equation for animal control was to include reinstituting the Indiana Dog Tax of $5, as well as adding a local dog licensing fee of $15.

On Monday, County Attorney Jim Ensley said he had spoken individually with commissioners David Berry, Max Watts and Don Walton, and that each man is in favor of reopening the shelter, but that they are all leery of instituting the $20 annual fee per dog.

However, the $5 annual dog tax would be in place, of which $4 would come back to the county for animal control purposes.

Other operating expenses would likely come from Economic Development Income Tax funds, as well as potential grants.

Additionally, a proposed animal control ordinance would create an animal control board. The nine-member panel would advise the animal control director on policy and fiscal matters. This board would be composed of members nominated by the city or town councils of Greencastle, Cloverdale, Bainbridge, Roachdale, Fillmore and Russellville; the Heritage Lake Homeowners Association; HSPC; and the Putnam County Sheriff.

All nominees would then be appointed by the Putnam County Commissioners.

As before, no official decisions have been made regarding the animal control problem in the county. However, commissioners wished to let the public know that the matter is still on their radar.

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