Thursday, December 8, 2005

County puts animal control on hold

Staff Writer

The Marshall County Board of Supervisors voted to rescind a set of animal control ordinances recently until an animal kennel is in place.

Supervisor Keith Taylor, who has pushed for ordinances that would protect residents and their property from the destruction of stray and vicious dogs and see that animals such as horses are not neglected, said the board rushed too quickly to get ordinances on the books.

“We voted to approve that animal control ordinance and after we did it we didn’t have a kennel,” he said. “We kind of got the cart before the horse. The county has to make sure we have a place to keep animals.”

Sheriff Kenny Dickerson stepped in a month ago with a proposal that a kennel could be built on county land at the jail. He said deputies and perhaps inmates could operate the kennel after it is built.

Taylor said the sheriff is working to get quotes from contractors who build kennels. The board wants to pour a pad capable of housing about 30 animals and build a shed over at least a portion of it to keep animals out of the elements, he said.

“We want to go ahead and build something big enough for long-term needs,” he said.

The Marshall County Humane Society and No Borders Animal Rescue are two local groups supporting ordinances to help deal with neglected and abandoned animals and abused ones.

Sherry Janssen, president of the Marshall County Humane Society, has said there’s room for other groups to work on this problem.

“The Humane Society can never be animal control. We perhaps could take some of these animals on a space available basis only,” she said.

“The Society does not encourage euthanasia of healthy animals; however, we also totally understand to get the population down sometimes there is no other alternative,” Janssen said. “It is much better for an animal to be humanely put to sleep than to be left starving on the side of the road. We (the Humane Society) just don’t have the stomach for it (euthanasia).

“There’s certainly plenty of strays in this county and we would welcome more rescue groups to help on this problem.”

The Humane Society supports animal adoption and spaying/neutering of animals to control animal populations and the birth of unwanted pets.

“We will definitely support the county in any way but we can never be animal control. We just don’t have the manpower to go out and be animal control (pick up animals),” said Janssen.

The Humane Society is waiting for water supply to be brought to the property before it can open its new facility of 5,000 square feet.

“We are going to have room for 30 singles and two family kennels,” said Janssen. “We are going to be a closed-adoption center. We can only take an animal in when another animal has been adopted or vacated its spot.

“We feel that if the people of Marshall County will give the supervisors the courtesy of implementing the animal control slowly, it will be a success. It takes time to turn around. Everything that is good takes time and effort. We applaud them for making an effort to implement animal control. Nothing happens overnight.

“It’s going to be an ongoing learning experience. We have tried things that didn’t work and the supervisors will have to learn more as we go along, too.

“One thing I want to say is that the supervisors have always supported us and we will always support them. If the people will just give the supervisors a chance to get things implemented properly, this will all work out better.”

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