Hancock shelter questions grow

To the editor:

The people of Hancock County continue to be perplexed about the motives of the commissioners in ousting the foundation from governing the welfare of homeless cats and dogs at the shelter. No substantiated allegations of misappropriation of funds, irresponsibility of care or question of character were ever found. Their 20-year record with a 3 percent low-kill management, high adoption rate and efficiency of spay-neuter clinics is commendable. The commissioners say they can maintain the same high standards yet have no experience in welfare over an animal shelter, knowledge of resources nor the sincerity, love, compassion and dedication without pay needed to maintain the lives of these animals waiting to find homes.

Is the public aware that the foundation raised more than $1.5 million to help sustain the shelter? They got the first levy passed for the animal shelter in this county for $150,000, donated $100,000 of their own money toward the building cost of $280,000, leaving only $30,000 for the county to pay. They paid $40,000 for the sewage treatment plant and $200,000 for a dog run so the dogs could get exercise and be safely protected. I really don’t see these three commissioners organizing and facilitating fundraisers to acquire these kinds of totals. Why would the commissioners eliminate an organization that has been so successful and diligent in its goals in caring for these homeless, helpless animals? Are these men truly driven to achieve this level of accomplishment? Not likely. They may contend to find staff with the same willingness, but that would be a grand achievement and again take years to attempt to re-establish that kind of competence and drive. Why fix what is not broken?

How many residents realize the commissioners decided to cut the yearly budget in half from $175,000 to $88,000? Where did the money go? County employees’ wages went up but money allotted for the shelter animals got cut in half. The people of this county voted for a levy to continue the quality of care that has been highly maintained only to be duped and lied to knowing now their pre-planned takeover and intent to enforce the euthanasia clause.

The commissioners questioned the waiting list the foundation made for residents to relinquish unwanted pets to avoid overcrowding. What the commissioners didn’t tell the public was the foundation’s attempt to address this matter with a voluntary waiting list. The commissioners have no documentation of forwarding complaints to the foundation they contend to have received. Nothing is even slightly severe, serious or urgent enough to warrant a sudden, with no warning or time to address suspected issues, before ousting this impeccable organization.

Animal lovers of Hancock County, make your voices heard. Come to the commissioners’ meetings, speak out, write letters to the papers and demand the foundation be reinstated over the animal shelter. The respect and integrity of these three men have been greatly compromised in their positions as Hancock County commissioners.

Mary Ann Reese