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Breeder's permit in the works for Harrison County

Spay-neuter ordinance looks to curb unwanted dogs, cats

December 12, 2012
The Harrison County Board of Commissioners Monday night, Nov. 19, unanimously agreed to implement a breeder's permit ordinance for dog and cat owners in the county, once the ordinance is drafted.

The request for the ordinance was made by spay-and-neuter coordinator Tanya Tuell and animal control officer Bruce LaHue, but the duo had a host of supporters at the meeting who spoke in favor of the ordinance, including Hamilton County animal control officer Tom Rogers.

The ordinance will require all dogs and cats in the county to be spayed or neutered unless a breeder's permit is obtained. The permit will be free.

All dogs or cats five months or older must be spayed or neutered, or the owner must have a breeder's permit. Failure to do so will result in a $100 fine.

The permit will have to be renewed on a yearly basis. Also, the permit holder has to inform animal control of any litters born so it can be registered. With this system, the buyer will know the litter was legally bred.

LaHue said the law will not affect respected breeders in the county, but it will affect those who take puppies or kittens to Walmart (or any place) with a "free puppy" or "free kitten" sign.

"It's a monumental undertaking to enforce this, but, if certain people are causing problems, it'll be a tool or lever to bring them into compliance," LaHue said.

Rogers, who said his county has had a similar ordinance in place since 2006, said his county, which has a population of about 280,000, had 2,800 unwanted animals turned in this year. Harrison County, at about 40,000 residents, will have about 3,400 unwanted animals by the time the year ends.

"That's the importance of getting to the root of the matter," Rogers said. "We've watched the numbers go down religiously since (2006)."

Rogers said if residents do not comply, getting them in front of the judge should get their attention.

Tuell said there's a certain percentage of the population that just won't have their animals spayed or neutered.

"Why should we, as a majority of responsible, caring citizens, be held hostage by a small percentage of those who, for whatever reason, refuse to spay and neuter?" Tuell said. "We shouldn't be. The breeder's permit requirement will produce the results needed to bring that small percentage along with those of us who have worked so hard to provide for the unwanted, abandoned and neglected animal in our county."

Tuell said if one cat or dog has one litter per year, it could result in 60,000 cats or dogs in only six years.

She said the animal shelter staff shouldn't have to deal with the "indescribable task of euthanizing an endless stream of animals, all of which are a direct result of dog and cat overpopulation."

Tuell was followed by six more people, including the Perry County Humane Society president, who spoke in favor of the breeder's permit ordinance.

Commissioner Jim Klinstiver made a motion to have attorney John Colin draft a breeder's permit ordinance for review and approval at the next meeting.

Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes seconded. The motion drew a round of applause and cheers from the audience. Commissioner James Goldman also supported the idea and said, as commissioners, they are "hit with it right in the face" because of phone calls regarding stray animals.

At the board's first meeting in December, it signed the ordinance for the breeder's permit to be in effect July 1.

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    December 19, 2012 | 08:11 PM

    I believe this should be the last issue on this counties mind when there are drugs rampantly used in this county, when there are children in homes that have meth labs, and so on and so forth. Making people obtain permits to have pets is the most stupid thing I've heard in awhile. Also letting breeders off scott free is ridiculous. They are the ones putting animals in harms way. Interbreeding and possibly causing chromasomal disorders. Letting those poor animals live in cages and just be used for breeding. Those are the people who should be made to have permits. Not just for legit housing but to also prove they are paying taxes on all the cash they are earning "under the table".

Barbara Shaw
Schuler Bauer
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