Without a shelter to take stray cats or dogs, Casey County is looking for an answer. A concerned group of residents is working with the county animal control and with a network of fosters and adoption organizations as a temporary solution.
According to spokesperson Karen Champ, the best, permanent solution would be to construct a new shelter. Preferably it would have a clinic to perform spay and neuter operations, to control animal populations here which could spiral out of control.
She explained that volunteers are picking up dozens of stray dogs, some purposefully “dumped” out in the rural areas of Casey County. Liberty has a feral cat problem. She worries that these issues could get worse.
“It is a growing problem, and we don’t want to start euthanizing them, but we know in the back of our minds that if we can’t come up with a solution, it’ll come up,” Champ said.
Although Casey County has for a long time had an issue with stray and dumped animals, the placement difficulty began with the New Year. According to Casey County Judge/Executive Randy Dial, the county had contracted with Lincoln County’s animal shelter for years to take stray animals. Now, he explained, Lincoln is full and can no longer take the animals from here.
The issue arose at the same time that the county hired a new Animal Control Officer Eric Pruner. The volunteer group is now working with Pruner to place stray animals, and has started a Facebook page titled “Friends of Casey County Animal Control” to find foster and permanent homes. Those interested can see photos of available dogs. The group also has a second page, “Casey County Animal Advocacy” where they discuss possible solutions.
Beyond the temporary help, Champ says she believes that Casey County’s government, the City of Liberty, and residents can collectively work together and solve the issue by building a new shelter. She said that the group is not opposed to the County government and wants to work with it, and with Liberty Mayor Dr. Sam Haddad, to resolve the stray animal issue.
“We have a problem, and it’s going to take all of us together to work together to solve it. We truly believe that if there’s a will there’s a way. We want to help the county,” she said.
The group has begun plans to fund-raise, including a forthcoming t-shirt sale with a logo and the message “Build that shelter” on it. It is planning other fundraisers, and wants to hand over all money raised to help build a shelter.
She also would like Casey County’s government to seek grant money. She said recently Lincoln County received a $10,000 grant for a TNR (trap, neuter, release) program for feral cats.
Champ added that Russell County’s government has found itself in a similar situation, and that Casey and Russell could work together to fund a bi-county shelter, with the support of local business and the community at large.
In the meantime, she suggests that people continue to work with the county animal control. Stray or dumped animals can be reported to the Casey County Judge Executive’s office (606) 787-6154.
The group of animal advocates will speak at the next Liberty City Council meeting March 14. They also will continue to work hard to find good homes for suffering and abandoned animals. Champ hopes that the community will recognize these issues and work together to support a permanent shelter solution.