A new ordinance revising the enforcement duties of the Porter County Animal
Control and operations of the Animal Shelter has the shelter advisory board
looking to make adjustments.
The shelter board held a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss the most
recent draft of the ordinance, about 40 pages long. Because the document’s
provisions set fines, restrictions and medical requirements such as annual
tests and immunizations, board members raised concerns that the June 1
deadline set by the county commissioners office to offer suggestions may not
be adequate time for them to thoroughly address the codes proposed in the
“It is too large to deal with right now,” said board member Rachael Jones.
The ordinance, which is about 30 pages longer than the current animal
control code ordinance, had been tentatively scheduled to go before the
county board of commissioners for a vote and public hearing at its upcoming
June 5 meeting. It is likely however the vote will be pushed back to a later
date in order to allow time for the shelter advisory and animal control
boards to give input, county attorney Betty Knight said on Thursday.
Knight said there is no real deadline for the ordinance but suggested the
first week of June as an approximate deadline so the matter “wouldn’t be
forgotten about for years and years.”
The shelter board approved formation of a five-member committee to put
forward suggestions for the board. Those five members are shelter board
members Rachael Jones, Patrick Cassin and Laura Blaney, shelter director Jon
Thomas and animal control board member Meredith Reggie.
Jones said she would like to address specifically the passages that require
animals to have specific vaccinations and medical tests, fearing they may be
too restrictive. She said the new ordinance reads from the perspective of a
law enforcement officer since it was crafted by Animal Control, a division
of the Porter County Sheriff’s Police.
The code is for animal control, Knight said, but it does involve the shelter
since the two entities do overlap in their duties.
While it has been suggested that Animal Control and the Shelter work
together, Cassin, who is one of the county’s animal control officers, said
that animal control and the shelter are separated by means of their primary
goals. Animal Control’s top priority is public safety while the shelter’s
main concern is animal welfare.
Blaney and Jones also felt members of the public should have the opportunity
to offer their feedback and would ask the commissioners about posting the
final draft of the ordinance on the county’s website.
Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, told the Tribune that he
will see to having the proposed ordinance posted on the county’s website
days before the commissioners open it to a public hearing where residents
can give their concerns. He said he would like to give time for the boards
to look over the document since it was only this week that they first saw