Clark County opens new shelter to house lost, stray dogs

Clark County will open its own animal shelter Friday, Sept. 1, after the local humane society ended its contract to house stray and lost dogs for the dog wardens.

State law mandates the county pick up stray dogs. In previous years, Clark County paid the Humane Society Serving Clark County more than $200,000 annually to serve as both the dog wardens and to shelter and care for stray and lost animals. Now the county employs the dog wardens directly and had paid the humane society about $80,000 a year to house the dogs they pick up.

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The humane society then sent a letter to county commissioners informing them they can no longer take dogs from the dog wardens starting Sept. 1.

The current status of the Humane Society Serving Clark County isn’t clear. Its Facebook page says it no longer has any dogs available for adoption and no one answers at the shelter. The executive director declined to comment and directed questions to board members. Multiple calls from the Springfield News-Sun to board members haven’t been returned.

The new shelter will be called the Clark County Dog Shelter and it will only accept dogs, County Commissioner Rick Lohnes said. It’s located at 3673 Middle Urbana Road and will be open

It will continue to pick up lost and stray dogs, as well as house the dog warden’s office. The dog wardens cannot accept owner-relinquished dogs.

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The shelter will be open noon to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, excluding holidays. Impound fees will be $20 and boarding fees will be $10 per day.

“It will be a standard county dog shelter. They will take are the dogs the dog wardens pick up,” Lohnes said.

The county assumed total responsibility for the county’s dog wardens in 2016 after issues with mismanagement, Lohnes said, including employees not getting paid on time.

“Records weren’t being kept very well and we were concerned we were liable for that,” he said.

The county made the dog wardens full county employees.

“All of their expenses, we got them uniforms, protective equipment bought their vehicles, fixed their vehicles a lot of the stuff needed to be done,” Lohnes said.

Owners of dogs that are licensed will be found and the shelter will keep them up to 14 days, Lohnes said. Dogs that aren’t licensed will be kept for three days. They can be kept longer if there are options for someone to take the dogs. After that, dogs could be put down.

The new shelter has a six-month lease with an option to extend it.

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