Local Government Only Covers 28% of White River Humane Society Budget

(BEDFORD) – The White River Humane Society was not compensated for the care of three African Boerboels after they were seized by animal control. The dogs attacked, killed and injured dogs in their neighborhood.

The owner was fined $135, but the court later dismissed the case. The dogs were returned to the owners and the shelter was not compensated for the three months they cared for the dogs.

On Tuesday morning, Buddy Hendricks addressed the Lawrence County Commissioners about the importance of drafting a county ordinance regarding the issues of dogs seized by animal control.

Fourteen dogs, including five puppies, were found emaciated and in poor health and were removed from a Bedford house over the weekend. All of the dogs are currently being held at the White River Humane Society, leaving the shelter overcrowded and straining their resources.

Bedford Police say their owner, Nathan Shaw, is now facing charges of abandonment and neglect. According to court documents, Shaw left for Mississippi on May 28th. Shaw initially made arrangements with a friend to look after the dogs. That friend followed through but later passed the responsibility on to several others.

“It was a horrible situation for these dogs,” said Bedford Police Chief Terry Moore.

On June 8, the owner’s brother got a call that a Great Dane was dead in the living room. Hours later, a utility worker called police after seeing the dogs in what appeared to be distress.

According to court documents, the home was covered in urine and feces. Hendricks believes the dog’s conditions are a result of breeding and fighting.

The dogs were starving, covered in fleas and in dire need of medical attention. This situation left the shelter to foot the bill for their care.

Hendricks says this incident clearly shows that more policies should be put in place to help all parties involved.

“Helps us take care of the animals that are brought to us. Help gives the officers some guidelines that they know what to do when things like this happen,” said Hendricks.

Hendricks asked the commissioners to name the shelter when drafting a new ordinance allowing the WRHS to recoup any funds and holding fees occurred while housing animals seized by animal control or police.

Ordinances for all of the government entities have not been updated since the 1990s. The Town of Oolitic updated their ordinance in 2004.

The shelter receives funds from the City of Bedford worth $30,000, Mitchell gave $8,000 in 2018, the Town of Oolitic gave $800, and Lawrence County gave $45,000. These payments only help with 28 percent of the shelter’s budget. The shelter must recoup the remaining expenses through fees, fundraising, and donations.

Bedford Animal Control Officer Cliff Tipton says the department responded to 435 calls in 2018. They transported 115 dogs and 143 cats to the WRHS. Bedford residents transported a total of 41 dogs and 56 cats to the shelter.

The City of Mitchell normally transports 5 to 6 cats and dogs a week to the shelter says Eugene Terrell from the Mitchell Street Department who handles animal control.

The Town of Oolitic Clerk-Treasurer Jessica Staggs reports the town normally gets requests for traps for cats, with about 50 a year or less being transported to the White River Humane Society.

In 2018, a total of 967 animals were taken to WHRS. Of those, 435 were dogs and 532 were cats.

Currently, the shelter is housing about 90 cats and 90 dogs which have put the shelter over capacity.

The shelter is in need of supplies:

  • Laundry soap
  • Bleach
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Monetary donations

The monetary donations will be used for veterinarian care and needed supplies for the dogs.

To find out more how you can help the White River Humane Society call 812-279-2457 or mail donations to White River Humane Society, Post Office Box 792, Bedford, Indiana 47421.