PORTAGE | For more than a decade, Portage has contracted with the Humane Society of Hobart to take the city's stray animals.
That relationship could be coming to an end, and that has officials urging their Porter County counterparts to move forward with the construction of a new county animal shelter.
Carol Konopacki, former director and present board member of the Hobart agency, sent a letter to the city earlier this month. The letter revolved around "bite case" dogs that had been brought to the shelter.
She also noted the relationship was never meant to be permanent.
"Many of you were not officials in the City of Portage when we agreed to house your strays. You may not be aware of this, but this arrangement was to have been temporary until you found and made other arrangements. This cannot go on indefinitely," Konopacki wrote.
She said Friday that her animal shelter can no longer afford to house the city's strays.
"The ideal situation is for them to house their own animals," she said, adding the shelter also provides the service for Lake Station and Hobart, but are also hoping to separate from Lake Station.
City Council President Sue Lynch said she has spoken to a couple Porter County Commissioners.
"I've told them whatever the city needs to do, we'll do," said Lynch, adding that if the humane society does cut off services, the city will have no place to take strays. She's been told the county shelter is too full.
"Our relationship with them is deteriorating," said Clerk-Treasurer Chris Stidham. "They would like us to move on. It has given us the motivation to contact the county and become a part of the county."
Stidham said the city sends 50 to 60 animals to the shelter each month.
The city pays the Hobart Humane Society somewhere between $20,000 and $25,000 a year for shelter services. The city also employs one full-time and one part-time animal control worker.
Neither Lynch nor Stidham knew for sure why Portage contracted with Hobart 10 to 15 years ago. They believe it had to do with the proximity of the Hobart shelter.
County officials have been talking about building a new animal shelter for several years. They have mentioned locations at either Sunset Hills Farm County Park or on county-owned land at Ind. 149 and Ind. 130.