Muncie Animal Control – What’s It All About Anyway?

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So much talk about how this new ordinance is the best plan for animal control.  Consolidating of both city and county, streamlining government and saving taxpayer’s money.  And it’s for the animals.

Is it really the best plan ever? 

 Well, my curiosity was aroused after perusing an online story chat about the pitfalls of Animal Control and how the county MUST be in control.  So, I asked, why is this plan better than the others?  I was met with some hostility by the supporters but all the supporters agreed this was the best plan for us.

How can a county which has had many failed attempts at animal control be so positive this one will succeed?  Just where will the money come from to fund this “absolutely the best plan ever”?  After explaining my concerns about the county’s finances and lack of any animal control experience, I was told “Ya don’t know nuttin”.  

They were right.  So, I did a little research. 

My first stop was the Delaware County Humane Society Proposal.  41 pages covering everything from cost savings, plans for a campus environment conducive for animal adoptions, funding, hiring, ordinances and plans for future expansion.  I was impressed.  It was like a dream come true.  Could Delaware County finally solve the 25-year-old problem of animal control?  Alas, this ordinance was struck down after an organized effort to destroy the plan.  Sometimes we can be our own worse enemy.

Next stop was the elusive plan everyone talked about, nobody ever saw.  This was the plan which sat on the Mayor’s desk for months.  It has been dubbed the Dunnuck-Beach Proposal.  Although, the proposal has some merit, it lacks long-term planning.  How the revenue monies were figured is anybody’s guess. 

The Bookout Plan which has now become the animal control ordinance soon followed.  Echoing many of the same ideas as the Dunnuck-Beach proposal, it also lacked a comprehensive long-term plan. 

Both the Dunnuck-Beach and Bookout plans are relying on other cities and towns to enter in for a nominal fee.  So far, none are willing to bite.  Other additional revenues consist of fines, fees, donations and grants.  Neither proposal has put any dollar amount, estimated or true to the fines or fees, so there will be no guarantee this will be substantial income.

In fact, the council passed the Bookout plan as the ordinance without any dollars set for fees or fines.  The salaries were included, though.  Salaries are always considered separate ordinances, so why were they included?  Kind of messed up if you ask me.

Also not included were any animal control ordinances and no board in place.  Like the cart before the horse.

We come to the Mayor’s Animal Control Proposal.  Included in the proposal was the agreement between the city and the county, budget and updated ordinances to include county-wide animal control.

The proposals are listed at the end of this blog.

The county is proposing the city turn over all its assets, all control of any say in the operation of the shelter and pay an additional fee on top of it.  I believe if the county wants the assets and control, it should do so by completely funding it from the general fund like all county services (exception Communication Center).  The county is in poor financial shape and needs animal control.  They can not possibly fund it, so they will do what is basically a take over.  With City Council’s blessings, of course.

I have been told the county has made concessions.  Then I asked, “How can the county make concessions when they have nothing to concede?”  No shelter, no equipment, one employee and no history of experienced animal control.  They have nothing really to offer.

Neither Commissioner Dunnuck or County Attorney Mike Quirk could come to any agreement on how to handle the ponies which were killed.  One advised the owner to seek an attorney, the other believe it should be turned into the County insurance.  This is another example of the inexperience the county has to offer the city.

The Muncie Star Press ran an article on June 20, 2010, about two Labs picked up by a citizen,  She called the city and was told it was the responsibility of the county.  City does not offer this service to county areas.  The county said unless the animals were hurt or sick they would not pick up the dogs.  After a little government shuffling, the county picked the animals up and transported to Henry County Animal Shelter.  So, again, something as simple as a dog pick up was botched.

Please take a few minutes to read the proposals.  If you believe the Bookout proposal is the best, do nothing,  If you think Muncie should retain control, please contact any member of Muncie City Council, Delaware County Commissioners or the Mayor.

DCHS proposal  (Note: This is a large PDF document, please be patient while it loads)

Dunnuck-Beach proposal

Bookout Animal Control

Muncie_Animal_Shelter_Draft_ Agreement

Muncie_Animal_Shelter_Draft_Budget

Muncie_Animal_Shelter_Draft_Budget

More information can be found at Citizens of Delaware County for Property Tax Repeal

Muncie City Council:

Alison Quirk: 765-288-5319
Mike King: 765-282-3709
Linda Gregory: 765-286-2925
Sam Marshall: 765-288-0478
Brad Polk: 765-288-0571
Mark Conatser: 765-744-8862
Jerry Dishman: 765-215-9747
Mary Jo Barton: 765-289-9494
Monte Murphy: 765-286-4154 or 765-288-0516

Delaware County Commissioners

Larry Bledsoe  765-747-7730

Todd Donati  7-65-747-7730

Don Dunnuck  765-747-7730

City of Muncie

Mayor Sharon McShurley  765-747-4845

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