HC animal shelter temporarily closed
Harrison County’s animal control facility is closed and four of its employees are out of a job.
The county commissioners announced Friday the building was closed to the public with no time frame when operations will resume.
At Monday morning’s regularly scheduled meeting, the three commissioners terminated animal control director Franca Hardin and accepted the resignation of three other employees.
The commissioners said law enforcement told them they had ‘credible allegations of misconduct’ regarding workers at the shelter, located along Hope Lane, northwest of Corydon.
The commissioners said the facility is short staffed by four people and that’s why it must be closed at this time. They added that other employees and volunteers are still working there to take care of the animals at the shelter.
No animals are expected to be euthanized due to the temporary closure of the facility.
‘Honestly, whenever we find something that’s really horrible and everything; it’s just out of control ‘ these people had no intentions of harming these animals ‘ but now we’ve gotten into a bad situation,’ Commissioner Jim Heitkemper said.
It was standing room only at Monday’s meeting, as several members of the public with ties to humane societies and animal rescues came seeking answers. Some of them returned Tuesday morning after the commissioners decided to take a recess for the day Monday after convening for less than two hours during the public portion of the meeting.
Online court records show the county has not filed any charges, at least at this time, against any of the four employees who no longer work at the facility.
Harrison County Prosecutor J. Otto Schalk said it’s an ongoing investigation.
At yesterday’s meeting, the commissioners reviewed job descriptions of a variety of workers at the facility, including animal control director and kennel technicians.
Interviews for the positions will take place in executive session of the commissioners’ next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 19 (moved from Monday, Feb. 18, because of Presidents Day). Commissioner Charlie Crawford said applicants would start talking with them at about 5:30 p.m. (The regular commissioners’ meeting will begin at 7 p.m.)
‘Is the shelter not going to reopen until the positions are filled?’ Kaitlin Malone asked at yesterday’s meeting.
Commissioner Kenny Saulman said it would be difficult to reopen until they are filled.
Crawford said it may open sooner, although he said interviews won’t begin for two weeks.
The animal control shelter’s Facebook page posted Monday afternoon that the adoption program is also shut down due to limited staffing, but all adopted pets with scheduled appointments for spaying and neutering will continue.
At this time, there also are no animal control officers to respond to complaints and the shelter can’t accept any new animals.