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Animal control facility reopens after hires made

The Harrison County Animal Control facility has reopened with new staff in place following a two-week closure after an investigation that resulted in the termination of the facility’s director and resignation of three other employees.
The Harrison County Board of Commissioners conducted interviews during an executive session Tuesday, Feb. 19, to fill director Franca Hardin’s position as well as three other positions. That was followed by a public meeting where five people, including the new office manager and director, Jamie Breeding, were hired.
Breeding is now the lone full-time employee for the shelter. She has volunteered at and managed other animal-related organizations, including Crawford County Spay/Neuter and Dubois County Humane Society. Breeding was at the commissioners’ meeting earlier this month when the board announced the animal control facility had temporarily closed to the public.
The commissioners changed the role and responsibilities slightly for Breeding from Hardin’s position.
‘We changed the structure because the office manager was a part-time manager, part-time employee,’ Commissioner Charlie Crawford said.
The commissioners said they thought it was best the office manager work full time, which is why the director is also the office manager, who coordinates work for the staff.
‘It’s hard to coordinate the work when you’re only working part time,’ Crawford said.
Also hired last week were Courtney Greenwell, Alton Haycraft, Callie McCullum and John Weathers. However, since the meeting, Haycraft resigned from the position. That leaves the facility with two animal control officers right now, including one who stayed on while the shelter was closed and two kennel technicians who could possibly work as animal control officers, depending on scheduling and the staff’s needs at any given time. The commissioners anticipate hiring a third part-time animal control officer.
Greenwell will not start until March.
The commissioners said at their meeting, which was moved from Monday to Tuesday due to Presidents Day, the new staff would begin work the following day and the shelter would open to the public.
Numerous posts have been made to the facility’s Facebook page since the new employees started. One post said residents should remain patient as staff get used to their new roles.
Office staff at the facility can distribute spay and neuter vouchers and can accept adoption applications. However, the facility currently is not accepting animals from the public, unless the staff determines it’s an emergency situation because the shelter is near capacity.
For the time being, the shelter also is turning away dry cat and dog food due to the large number of donations received recently. There is a list of wants, though, if anyone wishes to make a contribution. The shelter is looking for disinfecting wipes and sprays, detergent, bleach, paper towels, dish soap, soft dog treats, canned dog and cat food, dog and cat toys, collars, leashes, sponges, blankets, towels and 39-gallon garbage bags.
The commissioners closed the shelter at the start of February after learning of ‘credible’ allegations of misconduct by employees at the shelter. The prosecutor’s office had said an investigation was underway.
Also at last week’s meeting, the commissioners voted to move their next regular meeting, which would have been Monday morning, to Friday, March 1, at 8:30 a.m. due to a scheduling conflict.

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