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At last, animal shelter bids will be opened

Harrison County officials will open bids at a special meeting Thursday at 1 p.m. for the construction of an animal control facility, signaling a major step forward in a contentious process marked by many delays.
After the dollar amounts of the bids are announced, they will be turned over to project architect Angie Kleer of Michel Timperman and Ritz of New Albany to check documentation.
‘Hopefully, we will hear at least one or two numbers that sound like it’s doable, and we will hear numbers that sound like it’s not doable,’ said J.R. Eckart, president of the Harrison County Board of Commissioners, which is responsible for letting bids and awarding contracts. ‘If we have a good range of bidders, there will be an extreme low and an extreme high.’
The council, which controls spending for county projects, has allocated $300,000 in riverboat revenue for construction and equipment; however, earlier estimates place the cost at more than $500,000.
Attempting to meet the $300,000 figure, the commissioners have defined certain parts of the project as alternates, such as how much will it cost to construct the facility with or without a garage and secure unloading area, or with or without a sewer lift station, for instance.
‘We have a number of alternates that would reduce the costs drastically,’ Eckart said. ‘If everything we took out still doesn’t get it within the price range the council wants to fund, then … we will be back to debating the issue: Whether to ignore the problem or to fund an inadequate facility.
‘That’s not a realistic answer,’ Eckart said.
‘It will have to open a bigger dialogue, such as why the council wants to fund an inadequate facility.’
The need for an animal control facility in Harrison County has been debated to some degree for more than 25 years, but this is the first time construction bids have been accepted.
Several times since then, private shelters have been opened, then closed, for lack of help and funding. The latest group, HEART, has been operating since the mid-1990s and has offered to provide volunteers to staff the facility after it opens.
In the meantime, a free spay/neuter program (funded by taxes) has been in operation to address the problem of pet overpopulation at the source. Harrison County residents must call 969-2615 for reservations. Two veterinarians are participating in the program: Dr. Julie M. Janes in Georgetown and Dr. Ronald J. Smith in Ramsey.
As of May 2003, 1,283 dogs and cats have been spayed or neutered, said volunteer project coordinator Tanya Tuell. Eighty-five percent of the animals were strays that had been taken in by residents, Tuell said.
‘At their own expense, they have fed and cared for these animals, which has kept populations of dogs and cats from roaming throughout the county, including downtown Corydon,’ Tuell said. ‘The spay/neuter program is beneficial to all citizens.’
According to The Corydon Democrat’s records, the Indiana ‘dog law’ took effect in 1925. Among other stipulations, the law called for all dogs to be taxed and inventoried by township trustees.

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