Status of dog shelter updated


The committee charged with finding a way to complete construction of a county dog shelter in the works for more than two years recently released some preliminary estimates for that work.

County Councilman Mark Hackman, who also serves on the Jackson County Dog Shelter committee, told his fellow council members that the cost of completing the shelter — located behind the jail in Brownstown — would be about $76,000.

At this time, there’s nearly $23,000 in donations that can be used toward the project, meaning it would take more than $50,000 to make the shelter functioning, Hackman said during the council’s meeting Wednesday night at the courthouse in Brownstown.

Construction of the shelter started in the fall of 2018 but came to a halt in late 2019 when the private funds to build it began to dwindle.

Then in February 2020, Debbie Hackman asked the county council for funding to complete the shelter. She is a member of the original dog shelter committee that included private citizens raising funds to build the 45-by-82-foot shelter.

At that time of her request, Hackman said the committee had raised $245,000 in donations toward the project but needed at least $75,000 more to complete the shelter.

The exterior of the shelter is basically complete with the exception of site work, but interior work remains, including purchasing kennels and installing a sanitary sewer line.

Mark Hackman said the new dog shelter committee, which also consists of Commissioner Matt Reedy, Sheriff Rick Meyer, Animal Control Officer Mark Deaton and councilmen John Nolting and Michael Davidson, is trying to find used office furniture, like desks, filing cabinets and chairs, to help cut the cost of finishing the dog shelter.

Davidson said there needs to be more discussion about what the exact costs will be to finish the dog shelter because a lot of the figures that are budgeted are “guesstimates” and not concrete, planned costs.

An example he gave was that $5,000 was budgeted toward office supplies, but exactly what office supplies were needed weren’t known.

Davidson also said another Fur Ball fundraiser is planned to help raise more funds toward the operation of the dog shelter with a tentative date of Aug. 14. The 2020 Fur Ball fundraiser was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councilman Brian Thompson said he appreciated the committee’s work in trying to determine the exact figures for the dog shelter’s construction budget, but he was more curious as to what the operational costs will be to run it once construction is finished.

“In my opinion, the biggest cost overall, like when you’re looking at the future on this deal, is going to be what it costs per year to run it,” Thompson said. “My question is it in the $25,000 to $50,000 range or the $200,000 to $250,000 range? That’s what I would really like to hear.”

The cost to run the Humane Society of Jackson County in Seymour per year is $250,000, Thompson said.

He said he would like to see the committee try to figure out an operating cost budget during their meeting to bring to the council.

The current plan is for Meyer to oversee operations of the shelter, which will have a manager, and inmates will be used to care for the dogs.

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