Nearly 38 and a half years ago, on Jan. 12, 1984, the Greene County Humane Society, Inc. filed its articles of incorporation with the state of Indiana. That is almost 40 years of serving the community of Greene County and our stray and unwanted animals.
While the organization has been through multiple changes in leadership, varying stages of public accountability and a multitude of ethical issues, I believe that an existence of 40 years does exemplify the need within our community.
As the 40th birthday of our organization approaches, something that I am constantly considering is how to set up our organization to be successful for the next 40 years. That involves really diving into what issues face our community and how to most strategically tackle them.
Our organization has several things that we are looking at but here is just a synopsis of our hopes for the future:
• First, we want to address spay and neuter. For several years, we have offered spay/neuter vouchers to the community to assist with the cost of surgeries. We installed a surgery suite for our animals in late 2020, but know that the county needs larger access to affordable surgery services to make a real impact. We are also working on a trap-neuter-return program for feral cats to help prevent a continuing over-population of stray cats.
• Second, we have been looking into more space and a more modern facility to tackle overcrowding, animal anxiety, disease, public accessibility and so on. While our current facility has served us well, it is small and too inefficient to make the impact that we need to make. More space can also accommodate our desire for expanded spay/neuter services.
• Third is education and engagement. This initiative is part of why I asked the Daily World for the ability to have this column. We want to explore multiple avenues to educate the public on responsible pet ownership, including working with kids to build that foundation at an early age. We also want to create a community that is engaged in helping to fix issues including educating others that they may encounter on responsible pet ownership, volunteerism, animal fostering and ultimately adoption.
• Fourth is a focus on getting county ordinances updated to be directed more towards modern standards.
Unfortunately, most of our county animal care and control ordinances were passed in 1997 with a few updates in 2017. Personally, I would like to see more focus on requirements for spaying and neutering of animals, requirements for pet microchipping, protections for shelters and rescues including defining the stray hold time and stricter and easier to enforce penalties for animal cruelty and better definitions of what cruelty is constituted as. To my knowledge, the county currently only funds an officer to investigate bite and neglect cases and provides no resources for actual animal care or control for stray and unwanted animals, more resources from the county to combat these things could additionally make an impact.
While this is a broad overview of some of our desires as an organization and while it will take time and determination to become reality, we feel that these are things that will ultimately make a lasting impact for our community.
If you would like to support our efforts, we would love to have you as part of the team. You can volunteer, foster, adopt or contribute financially to our efforts. We operate almost solely on the contributions of private individuals such as yourself. To learn more, you can visit our website www.GreeneCountyHumaneSociety.org or visit the shelter at 1026 N 1375 W, Linton, IN 47441.
In closing, some words from Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”