County, animal directors say shelter animals are not at risk

Putting all of the county’s shelter animals at risk: That’s what the group Friends of the McCracken County Animal Shelter says about McCracken County Judge Executive Bob Leeper.

The group has circulated a call to action advertisement in The Good Neighbor for the past month. This, after directors with the Humane Society say it will be a short time until they are ready to take on sole animal shelter responsibility in the county.

People are turning out to adopt or foster the animals for a number of reasons, but directors tell me they’re concerned and talking about the ad a lot. It accuses Leeper of ordering four dogs to be put down despite ongoing efforts to find them homes, but county and animal directors tell me the ad is misleading.

While the advertisements created a lot of discussion around town, one thing Leeper says is not up for discussion is the health and safety of the county’s animals. He says going through the transition, they knew they were going to hold some dogs.

But regarding the ad, Leeper says that "to run another ad that it’s urgent, that all these animals are at risk of being euthanized, is not accurate."

Leeper brought in an expert who decided four dogs from the shelter should be euthanized, and that’s because they were aggressive and had a history of biting.

If she could, Humane Society Director Terry Vannerson says she would take in and care for all the animals today. She says they continue communicating with the animal shelter. The shelter’s numbers are low, but Vannerson says when adoption is only out of fear she starts fearing for the animals.

"Our main concern is the animal, and they’re taken care of first," Vannerson says.

Leeper echoes the same sentiment, but says they’ll continue to care for the animals through any transition. "We want the animals adopted, and if we get the reputation we’re adopting dangerous animals, that’s a problem," he says.

The Friends of the McCracken County Animal Shelter members say they stand by the ad and its message.

The absolute transition date to the Humane Society is Jan. 1, but Vannerson says they hope to start transitioning before then. That depends on weather and other variables that affect construction on the new addition.

The Humane Society has euthanized 16 out of 439 animals due to illness or aggression this year.

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