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The Scoop - Do we care about animals?
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County officials are working to correct a flaw that's troubling. 

As it currently stands, donations that are made to Animal Control throughout the year must be used during that year. If not, the money is kicked into the county's General Fund where it can be used for just about anything.

It's clear Animal Control is like no other segment of government. I don't think most folks would consider making a donation to the Highway Department or Register of Deeds Office. We pay county taxes to fund those departments.

But there are many people who have a love of animals and want to see them cared for properly. They want stray dogs and cats to have sanitary conditions in which to live and they don't want them to be "put to sleep." I find it encouraging there are many people like this.

Donations made to Animal Control need to stay at Animal Control whether they were made three months ago or three years ago. I would think anyone who has made a donation intended for the betterment of animals would be upset to learn their donation was rolled into a county government fund to be spent in any manner county officials see fit.

Considering our rich history of failing to adequately fund Animal Control, it's doubtful the money would ever find its way back once it leaves.

While I'm riding this Animal Control train, I will take this time to say I think our Warren County Commission should do a better job of funding Animal Control. It's a department that's woefully understaffed and depends on volunteer labor to make things work. Past directors have had to fight just to get one part-time employee elevated to full-time status.

At a time when county government has posted a survey on its website asking residents how to spend some $8 million in federal government windfall money, I believe there should be funds earmarked to build a new Animal Control.

The current facility is ripe with problems that are the type of problems involving water runoff issues that won't disappear.

Groundbreaking for a new National Guard Armory has already taken place and there's talk of moving our Health Department to the spot where our current Armory stands. If this happens, what will happen to the current Health Department?

I say make it our new facility for Animal Control. This would be a stark contrast to our current facility which is hidden away so no one can see it. Out of sight and out of mind. That's how we treat the problems associated with our pet population.

I say give Animal Control a prominent new facility. If not at the Health Department when it leaves, make it a spot in our community where it is highly visible. 

Unwanted dogs and cats are a problem we can't seem to dodge. Giving Animal Control more attention at a facility that's not hidden in the woods would be a great way for our county leaders to say we care about animals.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.