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Open house Saturday at new animal control facility

Open house Saturday at new animal control facility
Open house Saturday at new animal control facility
Michael A. Gentry, Harrison County's new animal control officer, has dealt with everything from skunks under porches to a cougar in a barn. He once sponsored a pet adoption program at River Falls Mall in Clarksville. (Photo by Randy West)

Harrison County residents on Saturday can tour the new animal control facility off Quarry Road and meet the animal control officer, Michael A. Gentry.
An open house will be from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The facility includes an intake room, reception room, an 18-cage dog kennel, six-cage puppy room, cat room, isolation room (where an animal suspected of rabies or other communicable disease is kept), feeding room, employee rest room which is handicapped accessible, and an euthanasia room equipped with a freezer to store carcasses until they are picked up for disposal.
The commissioners last Saturday reviewed and finalized the animal control ordinance that will be necessary once the facility opens. That ordinance must yet be approved by the commissioners’ attorney and then advertised. And animal control officer Gentry is now acquiring furnishings and supplies which will be necessary for animals to be housed there.
‘We are not ready to handle any animals yet,’ said Commissioner James Goldman, who oversees the project for the commissioners.
Once the facility opens for business, there will be no charge to Harrison County residents who take unwanted pets or strays there, Goldman said. Proof of residency, either a driver’s license or utility bill, will be required.
The center will be open to the public six hours a day, six days a week, Gentry said. The building will not be open while daily cleaning is underway, he explained.
‘Someone has to be here everyday,’ Gentry said. ‘There’s no Christmas, no holidays. The animals have to be cared for.’
Volunteers are needed to work at the center ‘ ‘as many as we can get,’ he said.
It is a difficult job because anyone who volunteers probably cares deeply about animals, but sometimes animals must be euthanized. They are sick, aggressive or the facility is overcrowded. ‘It is a necessary evil; sometimes it just has to be done,’ Gentry said.
HEART (Harrison Education Animal Response Team) has already donated a new washer and dryer for the facility, plus stainless steel cages and food bowls. ‘Gloria Scott (HEART president) has been really good about asking if we need anything,’ Gentry said.
Adoptions will be promoted. Before they leave the building, those animals will be spayed or neutered, immunized, wormed, ‘dipped’ (to kill fleas) and implanted with a micro-chip for identification, all for about $35, Gentry said.
The costs of spaying and neutering will be covered under the tax-funded spay-neuter program, he said.
Residents can have a micro-chip implanted in their pets for about $10, he said.
After Feb. 1, residents may call the center at 738-8163.
Refreshments will be served at Saturday’s open house.
The one-story, grey stone facility is on Hope Lane off Quarry Road, about 3/4 mile west of S.R. 135 north of Corydon, or 1/4 mile east of Corydon-Ramsey Road. The building is on the west side of Shireman Construction Co.
Goldman said Hope Lane should be easy to see because it is new blacktop.
Several items are still needed at the facility due to cut-backs in the initial plans, which may be added later. That includes a reception counter, which would cost about $2,000.
So far, about $550,000 has been spent on construction from riverboat revenue including a $130,000 contribution from the Harrison County Community Foundation.
About $21,000 is still owed to the project’s architectural firm, Michell Timperman Ritz of New Albany. A request is before the county council for that amount from riverboat revenue.