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Escaping Dogs From Medora Shelter Raise Concerns

Last updated on Tuesday, March 27, 2012

(MEDORA) - A rural Medora man’s concerns about an adjacent animal shelter have prompted county officials to take a look at some of his worries.

"It sounds like there are some issues that need to be looked at," commissioners' President Jerry Hounshel said.

Aubrey Woods reports that's a result of complaints from a nearby business owner.

"My main concern is the safety of the public," Randy Cummings told county commissioners during a recent meeting at the courthouse annex.

Cummings was referring to dogs that get loose from Red Sky Rescue at 8305 W. 150N.
"My wife and I were riding motorcycles on (a recent) Sunday and a dog ran out in front of us," Cummings said.

Cummings later called the sheriff's department and reported the dog nearly caused a wreck.

"It's a common occurrence," Cummings said.

Cummings said dogs often get loose from the animal shelter, which accepts dogs picked up by the county animal control officer as well as others, and they come onto his property creating issues for those camping there. Cummings owns and operates Black Swan Lake, a campground.

"It just takes one bite and I'm liable for it," Cummings said. "I don't think I should be liable for her problems."

He said a 5-foot fence with electric wires along the top and bottom has been installed around Red Sky's property, but it does not seem to be keeping the dogs inside.
Hounshel, a former sheriff and a member of a K-9 Animal Control committee that includes Sheriff Michael Carothers and Debbie Hackman, county Councilman Brian Thompson and veterinarian Ron Harrison, in not unfamiliar with dog problems in the county.

The animal control committee was put together a couple of years ago to deal with animal control issues. The committee's work eventually led to the county hiring a part-time animal control officer and a contract with Red Sky Rescue. That contract has an annual cost of $20,000.

Carothers told commissioners the county animal control officer has been taking an average of 20 or so dogs to the shelter each month.

Ruth Riley, who operates Red Sky, recently told the county Plan Commission that she would come up with a plan to keep dogs on the property.

That discussion occurred after Riley applied for a variance to allow for construction of a shelter to isolate new animals at the shelter.

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