Chesterton Tribune

Commissioners name 7 to revived animal shelter board

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BY DOUG ELISH

The Porter County Commissioners took further steps Tuesday to improve the heavily-criticized conditions at the county’s animal shelter.

The re-creation of the dormant shelter advisory board was the broadest-reaching initiative. The seven-member board consists of veterinarians, animal experts and community representatives from each district in the county. The members are local veterinarians Jerry Rodenbarger and Rachel Jones, co-founder of the Lakeshore PAWS animal adoption group Jeanne Sommer, and Toni Bianchi, Dawn Garmon and Ella Holst, who represent the north, center and south portions of the county, respectively.

County council member Laura Blaney will also sit on the board.

Commissioner Nancy Adams said that she’s looking forward to the assistance the board can provide.

“I’m excited,” she said. “Public input will be a big thing when we make changes.”

Also, the veterinarians on the board have already pledged two days a week to help at the shelter.

The commissioners announced several other plans for the shelter at Tuesday’s meeting.

The spay/neuter policy will be altered in an attempt to get every cat fixed before being adopted. In the past, the shelter gave out coupons for new owners to get the treatment done, but few actually used the vouchers creating an overwhelming cat population.

Adams said the shelter workers are spaying or neutering 10-15 cats a week and that if an owner wants to adopt a cat, the shelter will hold that animal for one more day to make sure the process is completed.

The commissioners also approved spending in two areas for the shelter. About $5,000 will be used to purchase heating and air conditioning equipment and $8,000 will be paid to a professional fundraiser to determine how much could be raised toward building a new facility.

Another improvement measure announced Tuesday is the closing of the shelter from Sept. 19 to Sept. 26 for cleaning and repairs. After that week, the commissioners will hold a public open house from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 26.

Adams said she has gone to the shelter nearly every day for the past three weeks to work with new director Kristina Montgomery and during the down week will implement many changes that should improve conditions significantly.

“We want to give everyone a chance to come in and see what we have done,” Adams said. “We have made a lot of improvements and people can see them for themselves.”

 

Posted 9/7/2011