Dog shelter committee continues to seek county funds

With COVID-19 putting fundraising efforts on hold, those behind the project to build a dedicated dog shelter in Jackson County have once again asked the county council for help.

The project began construction in 2018 on land behind the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown after $175,000 was raised from the community for building costs. At that time, the project was anticipated to cost around $200,000.

Since that time, the Jackson County Dog Shelter Committee has raised more than $240,000; however, with costs rising, that is not enough for completion.

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]

During Wednesday morning’s county council meeting, committee member Debbie Hackman requested $85,000 to finish the project.

This is not the first time county funds have been requested for the project. During a February meeting, Hackman approached the county council asking for $75,000, the amount needed to finish it at that time.

During that meeting, the council told Hackman they would need approval from county commissioners before they provided any money for the project. The issue was pushed back until a July 21 meeting, where commissioners provided approval for the county to fund the project.

The project is largely complete but there is still the need for 30 dog kennels, the installation of a sanitary sewer line, a well drilled to provide water, walls between the kennels, site work and an office.

The near completion of the building is one of the issues at hand for the county. With it being built on their land, they cannot use the land for anything else if the project was to go unfinished.

Another issue raised during the meeting by council President Dave Hall and county attorney Susan Bevers was the legality of the county funding the completion of the project.

While the county owns the land the building sits on, it does not own the building itself, and Bevers said it would not be able to provide funds for the completion without the committee granting the county ownership of the building.

While the plan has always been for them to give the building to the county, Hackman expressed some concern with doing so before it would be finished.

“I just want to make sure it’s used for a dog shelter and not to store lawn mowers or something. That’s not what people donated all this money for,” Hackman said to the council.

Ultimately, the council decided Hackman would need to discuss the matter with county commissioners, who would then need to accept the potential transfer of the building on behalf of the county. Once that is done, a few options for how the county could provide the money were proposed.

Councilman Brian Thompson suggested the county loan the needed funds to the committee, which could then pay it back over time with money raised during future fundraising events.

It also was suggested the project could be funded by the savings it would afford to the county over time.

Currently, the county is{span} 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 Medora, which has previously struggled with overcrowding. {/span}

Upon completion, Sheriff Rick Meyer will oversee operations. The facility will have a manager, and inmates will be used to care for the dogs.