Decatur County Commissioners Special Meeting 5-17-24

The Decatur County Commissioners met for a Special Session on May 17, 2024. 

Mark Koors and Jeremy Pasel were in attendance with Tony Blodgett being absent. 

The meeting began with the Lifetime Resources Agreement with Decatur County. This agreement is something INDOT is requiring as part of some changes that were made. The County Attorney reviewed and submitted the agreement to the Commissioners to agree. Both Mark Koors and Jeremy Pasel voted to sign the agreement. 

The other topic on the agenda was Animal Control concerning staffing and scheduling. Jeremy Pasel, Commissioner, stated that he had received information about continuing issues of availability and response of Animal Control to specifically the Westport area and other concerns. He did state that the largest part of the concern is running at large calls for dogs. 

Mark Koors, Commissioner, asked if Minde and Jeremy were aware that a previous Town Council in Westport had not wanted the County’s Animal Control to respond to calls and that they would handle that internally. Mark said that he believes that Westport adopted an Ordinance about Animal Control. At one time Westport had even installed pens and fencing for animals to be captured by the Town Marshall and staff. Then Animal Control would come out once contained. 

Minde Myers, Animal Shelter Manager, asked the Commissioners for clarification on what ordinance she should follow and enforce. She wanted to know if she needed to follow the ordinance that Westport created, the ordinance that the County has, or the state’s guidelines. The Commissioners told her that she needed to follow the county ordinance. 

Minde did state that they have been responding to calls and have had a presence in Westport. Minde said that the call that Jeremy received about her not responding was on Election Day and it came into her phone at 7:55 pm. She said she did not respond and that after Jeremy Pasel reached out to her via text and phone call, she reached out and received the report from the call. It was a running-at-large dog complaint. Minde said, “We don’t go out on running at large calls.”

Minde said she received a call this past Wednesday at 11:22 pm and constantly received more calls until 11:31 pm. She said that she finally answered the phone and that it was dispatch requesting that she go pick up a dog from a traffic stop. She said she told dispatch to have the officer take the animal to the shelter and utilize the after-hours kennel. Minde stressed that on-call hours are currently until 8 pm. 

Minde spoke about the current Animal Control Officer by stating that he was the only person that applied for the position and that he resides in Franklin, IN which prohibits him from working on call hours. Minde also reminded The commissioners that she worked for a year and a half and was the Manager and Animal Control Officer so she could re-allocate the salary for the Animal Control Officer to get a 2nd full time Kennel Technician. Minde said that she needs to focus on her primary positon which is being the Manager of the shelter. 

Jeremy Pasel said that we need to define what calls Animal Control will go out on. He said that they need to look at updating the ordinance that is in place in the county. He asked Minde to work on a draft and get it back to him to work on. He said that he would like to see Minde meet with dispatch, Sheriff, Greensburg Police Chief, and the Town Marshall’s in the county so that she can explain her policies and what calls they will respond to. Minde replied that she has sent out her documents several times but that she would reach out and ensure that all of these entities are aware. 

Chad Smith, Attorney, spoke about Westport’s Animal Control Ordinance and he said that throughout the document it states different positions but none of those titles have clear descriptions of who is representing which responsibility. He also said that since Westport is incorporated they took it upon themselves to include verbage within the ordinance of what Animal Control would and would not do. This is a large concern because the country receives no funding from Westport to support Animal Control. At this time the County sets the budget for Animal Control and the City of Greensburg pays half of that. Mark Koors said he will speak to Bryan Gatewood, Town Council President to discuss what the expectations are. 

Minde asked again what guidelines should she follow and she was told to follow the county’s ordinance and that she should begin to work on edits for their approval. 

The commissioners would like to see a part-time Animal Control Officer added to the staff to be on call from 4p-12p. Minde said her concern is not being able to find anyone for the position because she attempted to hire a part time ACO and that was unsuccessful. It was suggested that Minde speak with Decatur County Council members about getting the funding required for this position. 

Ashley Hungate, Animal Control Advisory Member & County Councilwoman, said that previously a few Council members were questioning rather to keep on call hours. She said that they have discussed leaving a set of keys to the shelter truck in a spot that officers can get to them in case they need to pick up an animal and do not want them in their car. 

It was Jeremy Pasel’s final thoughts that a part-time on call position is needed for Animal Control. He said that re-structuring needs to be completed to offer this and a discussion with County Council needs to happen. Mark Koors suggested 4p-12p on-call hours. Also Mark Koors agreed with Minde that we need to be microchipping the animals that have been picked up that were roaming and when that animal is picked up by their owners they pay for that fee. 

The meeting was adjourned. 

Post Ad 2