Just a short time after news of discussions with the Porter County Board of
Commissioners on the possibility of the county donating a parcel of land
near the intersection of Ind. 130 and Ind. 149 to build a new county animal
care facility, Lakeshore PAWS co-founder and president Jeanne Sommer has
announced the intentions of the non-profit pet rescue agency to purchase the
Sommer made the announcement during the International Homeless Animals Day
event held Saturday at Countryside Park in Portage.
In her address, Sommer said the commissioners have agreed to let PAWS pay
the remaining costs to Shelter Planners of America to finalize floor and
building plans for a new facility that will include a new adoption center
and a spay/neuter clinic that would also be available to local shelters and
“We can incorporate plans (from Shelter Planners) into a building that not
only houses the animals of Porter County but also continues to provide
shelter for dogs and cats of other rescues and areas since we will continue
to help all animals and not just the ones from the county,” she said.
PAWS will receive a helping hand from the Humane Society of Calumet Area, a
no-kill facility in Munster that also has recently built a spay/neuter
The two groups announced the formation of a partnership last week and Sommer
said they will come up with a proposal for the county so it can contract out
their animal care and adoption services to PAWS.
One change PAWS is asking is to build a new animal control building close to
the new care facility instead of using the current animal shelter facility
on Ind. 2 south of Valparaiso for animal control.
“It would just make sense to have the facilities close to each other so that
we might be able to share different resources,” said Sommer.
Although animal control will still be a county-run operation through the
sheriff’s department, Sommer said PAWS would like to discuss how operations
would work between them to “attain a balance between protecting the public
and protecting the animals.”
A member from PAWS would inspect the animals at Animal Control weekly and
try to find homes for them.
County Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, on Monday said he would
agree animal control and animal welfare might “function better” having them
side-by-side, but the board of commissioners would need to take a closer
look at the suggestion before deciding on the concept.
He said that PAWS and the commissioners will continue having discussions
about the land agreement. Donating the land is still a possibility with a
potential agreement that PAWS give the county some kind of credit for the
Sommer last week said the new shelter would be no-kill and as “cage-free” as
The Shelter Planners of America feasibility study gave recommendations the
new building be close to 10,500 sq. ft. with 3,500 sq. ft. of exterior
space. A shelter like the one recommended would cost about $2.9 million, the
study said, but Sommer said she believes the actual costs will be less due
to the amount of donations and services they are receiving.