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Animal shelter seeks extra funding

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

The Huntington Board of Public Works and Safety denied a proposed increase in funding to the animal shelter, but agreed to reconsider the proposal this summer to incentivize the shelter to fix a few issues.

The Huntington County Humane Society asked for an additional $1,500 this year from the City of Huntington, making the total amount $74,500, but the board agreed to keep the rate the same as for 2018 at $73,000, until July 1 when the board will reconsider the adjustment. Mayor Brooks Fetters said the city has been paying for services for more than 20 years, even after the County stopped funding the humane shelter in the 200s.

“There had been issues that Chief Hacker and I have worked out with the humane society with the fulfillment of their contract for the 2018 year, and I think we’ll keep it at the 2018 and see where it will go by letting them know that we would entertain an increase for the second half of the year,” Fetters said. “That gives them continued incentive to prove and do a good job.”

Huntington Police Chief Chad Hacker said central dispatch will call an officer to the scene or crimes or complaints involving pets, at which point the officer calls the humane shelter to deal with the animals as they issue citations, warnings or appropriate action.

“I’ve had several instances where we’ve had several pets at homes – we contact them, they come out with their van and they load up the number that they should not have and take them out to the shelter,” Hacker said. 

Fetters said that the service is improving, and Hacker said they’ve been helpful.

“There are a lot of things that they do where they’re contacted that we might not know about,” Hacker said.

The contract states that the shelter must provide animal control services, animal rescue services, anti-cruelty services and provide call response and pick up services within the city 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The contract also ensures that the shelter acts to guide the City and police department to help create regulations for the safety of the community, including animal apprehension, animal rescue, complaints against animals, complaints against owners and enforcement of laws. They also help with sick, injured and nuisance wildlife within city limits.

In other news, the board also resolved a mowing dispute where the resident was billed after she did not comply with an enforcement order to remove vegetation from the alley that was encroaching on the right of way. The resident had five days to be compliant and refused to act, so the city billed the resident the cost of the abatement.

The board unanimously approved dismissal of the complaint by the woman because they said they received the money for the bill and since it was past the compliance period.

The next board of works meeting is Dec. 17 at 3:30 p.m.