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Breeder’s permit in the works

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners Monday night, Nov. 19, unanimously agreed to implement a breeder’s permit ordinance for dog and cat owners in the county, once the ordinance is drafted.
The request for the ordinance was made by spay-and-neuter coordinator Tanya Tuell and animal control officer Bruce LaHue, but the duo had a host of supporters at the meeting who spoke in favor of the ordinance, including Hamilton County animal control officer Tom Rogers.
The ordinance will require all dogs and cats in the county to be spayed or neutered, unless a breeder’s permit is obtained. The permit will be free.
All dogs or cats five months or older must be spayed or neutered, or the owner must have a breeder’s permit. Failure to do so will result in a $100 fine.
The permit will have to be renewed on a yearly basis. Also, the permit holder has to inform animal control of any litters born so it can be registered. With this system, the buyer will know the litter was legally bred.
LaHue said the law will not affect respected breeders in the county, but it will affect those who take puppies or kittens to Walmart (or any place) with a ‘free puppy’ or ‘free kitten’ sign.
‘It’s a monumental undertaking to enforce this, but, if certain people are causing problems, it’ll be a tool or lever to bring them into compliance,’ LaHue said.
Rogers, who said his county has had a similar ordinance in place since 2006, said his county, which has a population of about 280,000 had 2,800 unwanted animals turned in this year. Harrison County, at about 40,000 residents, will have about 3,400 unwanted animals by the time the year ends.
‘That’s the importance of getting to the root of the matter,’ Rogers said. ‘We’ve watched the numbers go down religiously since (2006).’
Rogers said if residents do not comply, getting them in front of the judge should get their attention.
Tuell said there’s a certain percentage of the population that just won’t have their animals spayed or neutered.
‘Why should we, as a majority of responsible, caring citizens, be held hostage by a small percentage of those who, for whatever reason, refuse to spay and neuter?’ Tuell said. ‘We shouldn’t be. The breeder’s permit requirement will produce the results needed to bring that small percentage along with those of us who have worked so hard to provide for the unwanted, abandoned and neglected animal in our county.’
Tuell said if one cat or dog has one litter per year, it could result in 60,000 cats or dogs in only six years.
She said the animal shelter staff shouldn’t have to deal with the ‘indescribable task of euthanizing an endless stream of animals, all of which are a direct result of dog and cat overpopulation.’
Tuell was followed by six more people, including the Perry County Humane Society president, who spoke in favor of the breeder’s permit ordinance.
Commissioner Jim Klinstiver made a motion to have attorney John Colin draft a breeder’s permit ordinance for review and approval at the next meeting. Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes seconded. The motion drew a round of applause and cheers from the audience. Commissioner James Goldman also supported the idea and said, as commissioners, they are ‘hit with it right in the face’ because of phone calls regarding stray animals.
In related business, the board made a motion to transfer the highway department’s assistant engineer truck to animal control for a second vehicle. The truck, a 2011 Ford 3/4 ton short bed, will be used by part-time animal control officers as part of the newly-approved Operation Dog Gone for 2013.
The program, funded with riverboat gaming revenue, will cost $95,000. It will allow part-time employees to be paid out of riverboat to help shore up the inadequate resources and abilities to keep up with the public’s needs and, most importantly, the ability to eliminate danger to the public.
The truck is no longer needed for the engineer’s department because the assistant engineer position was eliminated after Steven Day resigned to begin his own firm.