Concerns for animal care in McCracken County

It's a hot topic on our Facebook fan page: the McCracken County Humane Society taking over the county's animal shelter. Many posted their concerns dogs would be transferred to the human society and put to sleep.

In March, the McCracken County Fiscal Court voted unanimously to make the McCracken County Humane Society the sole animal facility. The contract names January 2016 as the change-over date, but the humane society can begin accepting animals whenever the expansion is complete.

Executive Director Terry Vannerson says they follow strict euthanasia guidelines and do not set a time limit for the animals, but all the construction at the humane society needs to be completed before they take over.

Vannerson says they were supposed to pour concrete today, but the rain delayed it. There will be 40 bays to house dogs because once construction is completed, Vannerson says, the end game is not euthanasia.

Meanwhile, at the McCracken County Animal Shelter they saw a busy adoption day. Many families, including the Seymour family, say they were encouraged to adopt a new friend into their family because of word around town. They say they heard the shelter was going to be eliminated and wanted to find another family pet.

"We love animals, and we saw the issues they were having here," local mother Lisa Seymour says.

Wanting the consolidation to benefit the county, Animal Control Director Kathy Coleman works closely with the shelter. She says the success is dependent on space. She says they are working extremely hard to adopt out all the dogs and cats on premises. Coleman says 99 percent of the dogs at the McCracken County Animal Shelter are brought in by animal control. She says the shelter was never supposed to be a permanent solution.

"This was intended to be a temporary shelter when it was set up," says Coleman.

Vannerson says the consolidation will be the best thing for the animals. She says the knows the society has a past, but it's time to share their progress with the public. Vannerson says they have a strict euthanasia policy and guidelines they follow. She says she wants the consolidation to be a benefit for the county because in future the humane society will be the only one finding forever homes.

"It's not about you and me. It's not about the public. It's about the animals," says Vannerson.

Vannerson says their policies on euthanizing animals are based solely on aggression and illness. This year they've euthanized 13 animals, and while the humane society can start taking on dogs right now, legally the McCracken County Animal Shelter has to stay open until these renovations are complete.

Some directors estimate the construction to be completed in six to eight weeks, but Vannerson says they'd love to start transfer before the dangers of winter if possible. The humane society does not euthanize on the property now. Directors say they have not euthanized for space reasons in the past three years.

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