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Animal Control issue gets hairy at county meeting
Commissioner Michael Martin tells a member of the audience he doesn't have to explain his vote.

What began as an upbeat discussion on how Warren County Animal Control has become more of an adoption and rescue organization ended up in a shouting match after a pair of county commissioners dug in their heels and refused to vote to officially change the name of Animal Control.
“If we change this, what’s next?” asked Commissioner Tommy Savage who, along with Michael Martin, voted no to a resolution that would have added the words “And Adoption Center” to the name of Warren County Animal Control. His statement was answered by jeers from the audience.
Supporters maintain such a name change would make the center easier to find for people who want to adopt and rescue animals. It would also open up the center for grants.
“We are more into the adoption business than into control,” said Commissioner Blaine Wilcher who voted to change the name along with Teddy Boyd. The vote ended in a 2-2 tie as Commissioner Linda Jones was absent. “We even have someone who will donate new signage if we change the name.”
Animal Control director Kim Pettrey told the joint meeting of Health and Welfare, and Budget and Finance Committee members some people do not know they can go to Animal Control to get a pet.
“Our reputation was so bad there before,” Pettrey declared of the large number of animals that used to be euthanized at Animal Control. Pettrey added many of the center’s animals are taken by ARF Rescue which finds them homes across the country. “They are almost begging for our animals,” Pettrey said.
While the discussion was almost completely positive, with commissioners agreeing a mission of Animal Control is to adopt and rescue rather than kill, the fuzzy feeling did not extend past the vote. Members of the audience shouted at Martin who defiantly told them he would vote any way he wanted.
“I can vote no,” Martin replied to a woman from the audience who demanded he explain himself after the vote. “I don’t have to explain to you. I vote no.”
While the measure failed in the Health and Welfare Committee, it was decided to take the question straight before the entire Warren County Commission at its March 21 meeting, provided those supporting the name change get the wording of the resolution ready 10 days before the meeting.