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
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
The dogs are being sheltered in an annex across the street from the shelter
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
Local vets have also reached out by providing vaccinations for the animals
coming into 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
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.