Proposal for dog shelter on hold

A Brownstown woman wants to move forward on building a county dog shelter.

Debbie Hackman asked the three-member Jackson County Board of Commissioners if it would OK allowing for construction of the low-kill shelter next to the jail in Brownstown.

She also asked for approval to create a fund with the Community Foundation of Jackson County to accept donations to help cover the $200,000 cost of the 5,922-square-foot block building, which would house up to 200 dogs. The fund would allow anyone to make tax-deductible donations to the project.

After discussion on how neighbors of the proposed shelter would be affected, commissioners on Tuesday told Hackman she first needs an OK from the Jackson County Plan Commission.

Commissioner Matt Reedy said if that nine-member board gives the project the go-ahead, then the commissioners will readdress the issue.

Hackman, director of the county’s solid waste management district, conducted a public meeting this month to obtain input on how to pay for the shelter project. About 15 people attended and brainstormed ideas, including how to obtain corporate funding and how to best outline their plans.

For several years, Hackman and others have worked on the county’s dog issues, creating the blueprints for the building and determining the location. But the project has been in limbo since funding for construction has been available.

Sheriff Michael Carothers said jail inmates would be responsible for the duties of the facility as part of a reward system. There would be an area where inmates would clean and feed animals and a separate area where families could see and adopt dogs.

Hackman said there is a strong need for the shelter because Red Sky Rescue in Medora, which has taken in homeless and abandoned dogs since 2008, is becoming more difficult for Ruth Riley, the manager, to run. The county has been paying Riley to operate the shelter, and that money could be used to pay for shelter operations. This year, Riley has received about $29,700 from the county.

Since Jan. 1, the county animal control officer has dropped off 157 dogs at Red Sky. That’s not including the number of puppies and strays Riley takes in on her own.