Man Seeks A Dog Gone Solution

KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor

A local effort has been organized seeking to petition the Cannon County Commission to build and operate an animal shelter.

Unwanted, abandoned animals are already a big problem for some people in Cannon County.

So much of one that they are joining forces to try to find a meaningful, long-term solution.

One person who has felt the effects of animals being abandoned is Mark VanZant, who lives near the bridge over Auburntown Road, which has become a popular place for people to dump their pets.

"I've had 60 dogs and 47 cats left on or near my property during the last eight years," VanZant said. "It's a real shame that people do that, but it's a real problem for me too."

VanZant said he has spoken with several people who live in different areas of the county who report the same situation. "It's a big problem all over," he said.

According to VanZant, the solution to the problem is for the county to have an animal shelter and an animal control officer. He has organized a petition drive to encourage the county commission to take action.

And, according to County Executive Mike Gannon, that's a key first step.

"They need to come and present their ideas to the county commission and ask them to consider funding one (a shelter)," Gannon said.

Gannon said he agrees that abandoned animals are and have been a problem in some of the more remote areas of the county, but finding the funding to provide a shelter and people to work it has been difficult.

"We need a place where people can take unwanted animals. We've had people wanting to do something before, but nothing ever came of it," Gannon said. "I would support an effort for a shelter, but it would be up to the county commission to fund one."

VanZant has also approached the Town of Woodbury about making an animal shelter a joint venture between the town and the county.

Woodbury Mayor Harold Patrick said it might be possible to obtain a 30-year federal loan to build a facility.

People interested in supporting the effort for a local animal shelter can sign petitions at various locations around the community, including the Old Feed Store and Antique Mall and the Cannon County Senior Center.

The petition reads:

"We the citizens of Cannon County, recognize the dire need for an animal shelter in this county, due to the excessive amount of dogs and cats that are dropped and or abandoned. We request that an animal shelter be built by the Cannon County Commission. This shelter is necessary for the citizens of Woodbury and Cannon County."

A Continuing Problem

Dogs roaming around at will are a common occurrence in the county. Hardly a week goes by in which the Cannon County Sheriff's Department does not receive at least one report from someone experiencing a problem caused by their presence.

For instance, on Aug. 15 CCSD Deputy Randy Neal was dispatched to 769 Jimtown Road for a report of dogs at large. He spoke with Janet Marren, who said that about 10:30 a.m. about five dogs came to her residence and killed her cat.

Marren said that people drop off dogs on Jimtown Road all the time. She said she did not know who or if the dogs belong to anyone, and that she was afraid the dogs would hurt her or her kids.

Deputy Neal advised Marren that she has the right to protect herself, her kids and her property from the dogs.

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