Council discusses request for $75,000 to fund completion of dog shelter


Rising construction costs and dwindling donations continue to hamper completion of a dog shelter on county property behind the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown.

Debbie Hackman of Brownstown, who has been working with a committee of about 20 people to build the Jackson County Dog Shelter for five years, approached the county council Wednesday night about coming up with $75,000 to try to get it finished.

She said the committee has raised $245,000 toward the project but needs $30,000 to purchase 30 dog kennels, $15,000 to install a sanitary sewer line and drill a well to provide water, $12,000 for walls between the kennels, $9,000 for site work and $9,000 for an office.

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Hackman said donations have been slowing even though the project is near completion, but as construction lags, the cost of materials just keeps rising. Construction started in the fall of 2018.

“We would appreciate it if you could help us with this,” she said.

Several councilmen, including Michael Davidson, Brian Thompson and Dave Hall, had questions about the request.

“In a perfect world, if you had the money today, when would it be done?” Davidson asked.

Gil Hoene, a member of the dog shelter committee who has help guide its construction, said it would be sometime in the fall.

Thompson said his issue involves the use of public funding for construction of the shelter, which will belong to the county once completed. Sheriff Rick Meyer will oversee operations of the shelter, which will have a manager. Inmates will be used to care for the dogs.

Commissioners agreed to allow the project to begin as long as public monies were not used.

“I think it’s up to commissioners because they decided a while back that there would be no public funds used,” Thompson said.

Hall said he had believed if the county could have been involved in the construction from the beginning, there might have been some money savings. He said he was building a pole barn that was not as expensive as the 45-by-82-foot dog shelter.

Hoene said the committee opted to go with Morton Buildings of Rushville because it has a history of building animal shelters.

Hackman said some members of the committee looked at the Decatur County Animal Shelter, built by Morton 15 years ago.

“It still looks new,” she said.

Some of the additional construction costs involved the need for soundproof walls, which will last longer, Hackman said.

She also said the committee has tried to cut corners as much as possible, but efforts to increase donations are not paying off.

Thompson later said if commissioners would change their stance on the issue of public funds being used for the shelter, the council could take a look at finding the funds to complete it.

Thompson asked Hackman to approach commissioners about the subject and also come up an annual estimated cost of operating the shelter to see if some savings could be found that way.

Davidson asked Hackman about fundraising efforts involving larger corporations.

She said more of those firms are in Seymour and they are reluctant to donate because the Humane Society of Jackson County serves the city.

“There are 12 square miles in the city, and the Humane Society takes care of them,” she said. “There’s 503 square miles in the county.”

The county is presently paying Ruth Riley about $31,000 a year to take dogs in collected by Animal Control Officer Mark Deaton. Riley operates Red Sky Rescue in the Medora area, but Hackman said it is time for the county to give her a break.

Meyer also has $35,000 in a fund to pay for operations at the shelter once it opens.

The committee expects to raise about $20,000 through the fifth annual Fur Ball, which be from 6 to 11 p.m. April 4 at Pewter Hall in Brownstown.

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Donations are being accepted to benefit the Jackson County Dog Shelter.

To contribute, stop by the Community Foundation of Jackson County, 107 Community Drive, Seymour, or call 812-523-4483.

For information about the dog shelter, contact Debbie Hackman at 812-525-9367 or "like" Jackson County Dog Shelter on Facebook.


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