Gary and Porter County have each been faced with animal control issues. Each has addressed their challenges in different ways.
Gary officials found a simple solution to the problems at their animal shelter. They outsourced the work to the Humane Society Calumet Area, paying the nonprofit agency a $50 fee for each animal Gary Animal Control takes to the animal shelter in Munster. Feral cats, the exception, will be accepted at no charge.
The contract is not to exceed $82,000 annually.
That saves the city the need to build a new animal shelter. The city has so many other demands on its money that it can't justify building a new shelter.
Gary has done well in dealing with its animal control problem, finding a solution quickly.
Meanwhile, Porter County continues to struggle with its own animal shelter issue, a problem that seems to be dragging on.
The old shelter is just too small to meet current needs.
A plan to work with a nonprofit agency to provide services at a new shelter seems to have fallen through. A plan to build a new shelter at Sunset Hill Farm County Park has been withdrawn following complaints by neighbors and park supporters.
It's time for a new plan.
Porter County's needs to build a new shelter in a suitable location that is easily visible and central, according to its consultant.
If the county uses Brookdale Park, undeveloped acreage it already owns about a mile north of Sunset Hill, it would have to address two obstacles:
- Obtaining consent from people who want it developed with the usual ballfields and other amenities for humans.
- Providing sufficient signage to help people find the site.
If that doesn't work, the county should shop for land on or near a highway, and not near a subdivision where the barking might be an issue. Buy enough land not just for the shelter, but also for a dog park.
Putting a dog park at the animal shelter site would give animal lovers one-stop shopping for their recreation and adoption needs.
Spaying and neutering animals is the most effective way to keep down the population of strays, but even then this new animal shelter is necessary.