Jul. 10—TIPTON — With financial backing from the city of Tipton and donations from the community, the Humane Society of Tipton County is now seeking funding from the county.
The group is seeking $30,000 a year starting next year to help pay the cost of the humane society offering its animal and animal control services to unincorporated parts of the county and a formal contract to offer services to the county. Without the money and contract, the humane society would not be able to provide animal services to the area.
Rick Chandler, a city councilman and liaison for the humane society, made the request formally in front of the county commissioners Tuesday. Chandler will also appear in front of the county council, which ultimately approves the county's annual budget, later this month.
"It (the need for an animal shelter) was a theme I heard over and over and over again from citizens from both the city and county that we need to enhance our animal control, not only in Tipton but countywide," Chandler said.
The commissioners made no formal decision Tuesday. A decision one way or another by either the commissioners and/or the county council will likely be made in the next couple of months as the county formalizes its 2022 budget.
Without an animal shelter, the city's animal control officer has had to house any stray or lost animals at nearby shelters out of the county or has had to work with private citizens who volunteer their homes and money to house and take care of the animals.
Just last week, a pair of dogs were seen running loose in the county and had to be taken in by private residents who helped temporarily house and feed them.
"They (the private residents) just didn't understand why there was no mechanism to take care of these two animals," Chandler said. "It's a service, in my opinion, that needs to be provided by all municipalities to take care of animals. We would not expect private citizens to take care of crime or anything like that, so I don't know why they're expected to harness the burden of animal control."
A long-standing contract with the Kokomo Humane Society for the shelter in Kokomo to house Tipton's strays was not renewed at the end of 2019. The Elwood Animal Shelter has temporarily agreed to handle Tipton's stray animals, but with the caveat that the city move forward in establishing its own shelter.
Progress in that regard was made last year, when the city of Tipton bought the building at 825 W. Jefferson to serve as the city's future animal shelter. As of July 1, the city has also signed a renewable one-year lease with the humane society for it to operate in that building, Chandler said.
Since that purchase, most of the humane society's efforts have been going toward raising money to renovate the building so it can become operational. So far, it has received $30,000 from the city, $21,000 in donations from residents and tens of thousands more in the form of in-kind donations for construction work to the building. The desire is for the city to budget $30,000 a year moving forward to pay for animal services within city limits.
To finish the needed renovations, the humane society has put in a grant request of $52,000 to the Tipton County Foundation. If it were to receive that grant, Chandler says the shelter can be up and running sometime next year. If not, the shelter is likely another two to three years away.
Chandler estimates that the shelter will cost $85,000 to $90,000 a year to run, with most of the funding coming from local governments, as well as donations and possible grants.
Tyler Juranovich can be reached at 765-454-8577, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @tylerjuranovich.