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Breeder’s permit debate continues

It’s not often the morning meetings of the Harrison County Board of Commissioners draw a large audience to debate and discuss an issue; normally that occurs at the board’s evening meetings when most people are off work. But that’s exactly what happened Monday, however, as supporters and opponents of the breeder’s permit ordinance packed the Council/ Commissioner Room at the Government Center.
At the board’s last meeting, Robert Schickel of Lanesville ‘ and a host of others ‘ asked the board to repeal the ordinance put in place in November by the previous board of commissioners.
On Monday, a dozen or more folks voiced their support for the ordinance and asked the commissioners to give it a chance.
Tanya Tuell, formerly with the Harrison County Spay and Neuter Program, said the community, county government and those close to the animal overpopulation issue have worked hard to not only get the ordinance in place, but to also implement the spay and neuter program, build the animal shelter and fund animal control.
‘We’ve come a long way,’ she said.
The ordinance, set to go into effect July 1, will require all dogs and cats in the county to be spayed or neutered unless a free breeder’s permit is obtained (the ordinance needs to be advertised twice before it becomes law).
Tuell said the ordinance is not a mandatory spay or neuter law and, in fact, through research, she couldn’t find one mandatory spay or neuter law in the entire United States.
Tuell said she contacted five of the eight communities quoted in the Protect the Harvest advertisement against the breeder’s permit in the April 10 issue of this newspaper, and all five were reportedly incorrectly quoted.
‘I think that’s very important to look at,’ she said. ‘If they aren’t verified, they aren’t reliable.’
Created by Forrest Lucas, Protect the Harvest has a main objective to combat animal rights groups that it says are forcing their lifestyle on everyone through politicians and legislation, making life difficult for farmers, pet owners and the general public as a whole.
Farmers, including Peter J. Schickel of Lanesville, spoke against the ordinance for fear of losing barn cats that control the rat and mice population to protect cattle or other farm feed.
Others said they have had their cattle dogs spayed or neutered in the past and they became lazy and ineffective.
On the other hand, supporters of the ordinance cited dogs and cats they owned were just as active after being spayed or neutered.
Lori Mayberry of Elizabeth said she has rescued four stray dogs in the town of Elizabeth that otherwise would have roamed the town and present a danger to the public.
‘All were someone else’s choices,’ she said. ‘They felt they need not take care of them, that someone else would.’
Lori’s daughter, Samantha, said it would be a mistake to overturn the ordinance because, once it becomes law, it will help decrease bad situations for neglected animals in the county.
Another breeder’s permit supporter said she had a neighbor with a tied-up female cat in heat having litter after litter.
‘It’s not morally right,’ she said.
Lance Kingrey said it was his second time attending a county meeting against the ordinance.
‘Where’s it going to stop? Are you going to tell me I have to quit breeding horses?’ he asked.
Robert Schickel said he found 15 more pages, to go along with the previous nine he presented at the last commissioner’s meeting, that cover animal control in the Indiana Code.
‘We just need to enforce what we’ve already got in place,’ he said.
He said he thought the ordinance was created with good intentions, but it would have negative results and be costly to the county. He said it’s not right for a law-abiding citizen to be fined for not receiving a breeder’s permit.
‘Please repeal it,’ he said of the ordinance.
Commissioner George Ethridge said he has owned two rescue dogs previously, and both were spayed.
‘I didn’t want to deal with puppies,’ he said. ‘That was my decision. I would not have appreciated government telling me what to do and what not to do.’
Ethridge said the county already has an ordinance in place that deals with a lot of the issues discussed.
‘If you’ve not read this, please do,’ he said to the audience about the existing ordinance. ‘These situations have already been covered; they’re all here.’
A copy of the ordinance can be picked up at the animal control facility or from one of the commissioners.
Ethridge said he plans to have a meeting or two this month with only two or three representatives from each side of the issue and go over the existing ordinance.
Commissioner Jim Klinstiver said he made the motion to approve the breeder’s permit ordinance in November (Ethridge and Commissioner Kenny Saulman were not yet in office) after two years of input and he still believes it’s the right thing to do.
‘I’m a fifth-generation farmer,’ he said. ‘I know about animals.’
He said farmers wouldn’t treat their livestock the way dogs and cats are treated in the county as far as uncontrolled births. Also, he said it is difficult, if not impossible, to create an ordinance that pleases everybody.
‘We should advertise it twice (making it law) and we can always modify it once it’s an ordinance,’ he said.
Sinkhole repaired
Early last week, a sinkhole was discovered next to the dispatch area of the Government Center in south Corydon, causing the drive-through off of Atwood Street to be closed. Ethridge said a geotechnical expert was brought in Sunday to examine the sinkhole.
‘She said she did not believe it was a major geological feature,’ Ethridge said.
So, the hole was filled in, plugged and patched, with about a 5-by-10 foot gravel area. It was scheduled to be paved yesterday (Tuesday). After the area is paved, the drive-through will be re-opened.
Ethridge said another sinkhole, this one smaller, on the low, south parking lot will also be filled in.
The board approved maintenance supervisor Danny Spencer to go ahead with emergency funding for the sinkholes.