The Pike County Animal Shelter will likely continue to be operated by the Pike County Fiscal Court, after the court all but refused an offer by the Appalachian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to operate the facility.New Pike County animal shelterDuring a work session on Friday, Pike Deputy Judge-Executive John Doug Hays told those gathered that he had decided that the offer by the ASPCA, first made in May, was not the best course of action for the court“We’ve had an old mantra, ‘We’d like somebody to step up and run our animal shelter,’” Hays said. “As I’ve thought about this very much during the past few months ... I’ve decided, you know, that’s our responsibility to step up and address the public’s problems. It’s not our responsibility to duck them, to run from them or to get an outside group to take care of them. We’ve got to ... man up.”ASPCA member Cindy May Johnson said following the meeting that she was “surprised and disappointed” about the outcome, particularly since she believed her group was just in the beginning of negotiations on the proposal and that the group was only making the offer because the court asked for help.Johnson said during the work session that the discussions may be premature because it was her understanding that the proposed document was presented so that Hays and Assistant County Attorney Roland Case could look at it and make suggestions to make it presentable to the court.“We hadn’t intended on it being presented to the court, because we’ve never had that secondary discussion,” she said.Hays said he sees several problems with the proposal, including that the county employees would have to be let go and that the court would not “save one dime” by entering into the agreement.Also, he said, the focus of the ASPCA, which is on animal welfare, may cause the shelter to lose focus on its duty to people.“If we let this go, we lose the control to help the people that we have right now,” he said, adding currently if a magistrate has an issue, he can contact Hays, who can contact the shelter and get the problem taken care of. “If this is done independently, I don’t have that control, or the judge, or you anymore. It’s just a third-party group out there with a contract, ‘We’ve got our contract; we’ll run it our way, we’ll run it with our people, not county employees.’”The only issues Johnson claims were countered at her were “hearsay” issues such as a rumor that the ASPCA had already decided on a director. The nuts and bolts of the contract, she said, have never been discussed.Much of the discussion also focused on the ASPCA goal to make the shelter a “no-kill” or “low-kill” shelter.Hays said during the meeting that approximately 80 dogs and 80 cats were euthanized at the shelter in October, but Johnson said the numbers are likely higher.Johnson said it is a “dirty little secret” that hundreds of healthy dogs and cats are killed and disposed of in the landfill. And, she said, no one wants that, but the way the facility is currently operated makes it impossible.The ASPCA, she said, recognizes that it could not take over the shelter and do away with euthanizing animals. But, over time, it could reduce the need.The need for the facility to be run correctly is a major issue for the community, she said.“We are the most progressive county and area in this state in so many ways. We have so many things going for us to be proud of and to tout,” she said. “When it comes to ... animal control and animal protection, our state is woeful — it’s an embarassment. And, sadly, Pike County is behind so many other counties in Kentucky. I know that we’re better than that. I know this body is better than that and that we can do better.”While no decision could be made in the work session, the members of the court who expressed opinions spoke out that the best course of action would be for the court to establish an advisory board and retain control of the facility operations.Dist. 6 Magistrate Chris Harris expressed an opinion that the best course of action would be to establish the advisory board and trust in the management of the shelter.“It’s our responsibility as a county, it’s our responsibility as a fiscal court to run the animal shelter and I think that we should have broad shoulders and be willing to accept the criticism that comes along with it,” he said, adding the problems he had heard expressed over the course of the work session were mostly focused on past management at the shelter.“Everybody agrees on most of the things that we’re talking about and we’re all really on the same page on the things that we want to do for the animal shelter,” Harris said.Hays and other county officials said there have been improvements at the shelter in recent months.“I really think they’re headed down the right road,” Hays said.The advisory committee suggestion came out of a News-Express-hosted public forum earlier this year which stemmed from growing controversy over the operation of the shelter. Since the controversy was identified, management and personnel at the shelter has changed.The advisory board, Hays said, has been delayed in being put together because he has been waiting for a decision on the ASPCA proposal.Johnson said Friday her organization, which was not formed with the intent of taking over the shelter, will discuss further the issue in its next meeting. However, she said, in the meantime, the group will continue working to save animals.“There’s a big enough battle out there trying to save lives,” she said.
By Russ CassadyAppalachian News-Express
The Dog, Cat and Kennel tags have come in and are on sale at the Lawrence County Humane Society Animal Shelter. A collar and tag is the only way an owner will be reunited with his lost pet. The shelter is full of animals that belong to someone but we have no way of finding the owners. Thanks Leonika AllenLawrence County Humane Society Animal Shelter Supervisor
UNION, Ky. – Big Bone Lick State Historic Site is looking for a name for its newest bison heifer and wants your help. The park will announce the winning name Dec. 1 during a special holiday gathering, starting at 10 a.m. at the park visitor’s center. Guests will also have a chance to meet and learn about the bison. The deadline for online voting is Nov. 30. The link to vote is: http://parks.ky.gov/parks/historicsites/big-bone-lick/ The park will also offer door prizes and have discounts at its gift shop on Dec. 1.
For more information, call the park at 859-384-3522. Big Bone Lick State Historic Site has picnic areas, a 62-site campground with electricity, grills, water, restrooms, showers, a pool and small grocery. There are sports fields, and the indoor-outdoor museum has collections of bones from ancient creatures once attracted to the mineral springs of the area. On the grounds are life-size replicas of mastodons and bison. There is also a live bison herd at the park.
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