Taxpayers Footing Bill For Animals In Court Cases

The future is very uncertain for 26 dogs and cats taken from owners who allegedly neglected them or treated them cruelly. But what is certain is how much it's costing Harrison County to keep them at the humane society.

At $10.00 per animal per day the bill is adding up.

"We need a method with the court system to expedite these types of cases," Interim Shelter Director Eric Aschaffenburg says.

Aschaffenburg says the cats have been caged at the shelter since last November and the court hearing for their owner keeps getting postponed. Each delay means more expense.

"I think we definitely have to look at an alternative. I don't think the taxpayers should have to sustain this kind of cost," says Marlin Ladner, District 3 Supervisor.

District 4 Supervisor, William Martin, says, "I think if we in fact have our attorney get in touch with the county prosector's office in an attempt to have these matters expedited because of the cost to the county and the potential cost to the owner, if in fact a judgment is entered against them, then we can get them expedited."

To avoid more costs, the supervisors say one option is keeping court case animals at the county farm. But Aschaffenburg says regardless of the location, the animal's welfare depends on faster justice.

"It's a more cruel situation, even if you put them out at the county farm, to have a poor animal stuck for seven months in a cage is crazy."

The supervisors will get an update from their attorney at their next meeting.