Chesterton Tribune

Porter County Animal Shelter chief says rescued dogs are becoming adoptable

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Three weeks after Porter County Animal Control removed 82 dogs from a home in Westchester Township, county Animal Shelter staff reported Wednesday that the remaining dogs from the raid being housed at the shelter are adjusting well.

The shelter has made strides in caring for and socializing the animals so they can go to good homes.

Considering “the condition they were in, (the dogs) are doing extremely well. They’ve come a long way,” said shelter interim director Jon Thomas at the shelter’s advisory board meeting.

Thomas said over the last few days, 16 of the dogs have been placed in foster care, ten have been transported to Lake County Animal Shelter, six have been transferred to Homeward Bound shelter in Mishawaka and four have gone to adoptive homes.

Out of the 82 dogs seized from the home in which they were hoarded, the county ultimately put down 36 that were judged too vicious or beyond the point at which they could be socialized.

Thomas said he hopes he will be able to find homes for all the dogs as animal behaviorists will continue assessing the animals and improving their social skills.

The dogs are being sheltered in an annex across the street from the shelter in Valparaiso.

Board chair Toni Bianchi said she was also pleased with the progress despite earlier grumblings by the board that they were not notified by animal control or the county commissioners prior to the raid.

The board initiated talks on implementing policies of how animal control and the shelter should jointly handle certain situations.

The county commissioners are currently in the process of revising county codes just months after they made animal control its own unit overseen by the county sheriff’s department.

Bianchi and fellow board members Jeannie Sommers and Rachael Jones said the Shelter Planners of America are expected to complete the results of the feasibility and needs study of the animal shelter later in the month. The board will ask the commissioners if the public could be invited for the meeting tentatively scheduled for Feb. 23 to review the results at the county administration building.

The commissioners approved the study in December at a cost of $6,500 which can be applied toward plans for a new facility up to 10,000 square feet.

More Help Hired

Praise was given to Thomas by board members who have received good reports from local humane societies on the clean appearance of the shelter.

Thomas said with the new funding approved by the county council last month, he was able to hire three new part-time workers and a full-time assistant.

“This will help immensely with the upkeep of the shelter,” said Thomas.

Donations have also made a difference. Two sinks have been donated, one for the isolation room and one for the cat room, Thomas said. Thomas said he has visited a new shelter in St. Joseph County to get ideas for Porter’s shelter.

Local vets have also reached out by providing vaccinations for the animals coming into shelter.

Chesterton Comedy Show

to Benefit Shelter

Board member Ella Holst said she has been contacted by several organizations inviting the shelter to take part in their events. Coming up is the Laugh for Paws Comedy Show at Chesterton’s American Legion Post (798 Wabash Ave.) on Saturday, Feb. 11, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

Tickets for the event which are available at the animal shelter, the American Legion in Chesterton and at the door, are $15 per person and $20 per couple with proceeds going to the shelter.

The show is for ages 21 and over and will include a 50/50 raffle draw and door prizes. 

Holst said door prize items are currently being accepted. Anyone interested in donating prizes is encouraged to contact the shelter by e-mail at

Other future events can be found on the Shelter’s Facebook page as well as acknowledgments of those who have donated.

Curt Ellis, who was hired by the commissioners to operate the Shelter page on Facebook, said the page has gained more supporters this month and encourages them to share the Shelter posts on their personal profiles for their Facebook friends to see.

He said the page is expected to have 7,000 followers in a short time.

The page has been effective in increasing animal adoptions. Ellis said 21 cats and 5 dogs featured on the Facebook site have been adopted.




Posted 2/2/2012