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EDITORIAL: County council: Rescue group has a lot to offer if you’ll only listen

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They looked a gift horse rescue in the mouth, then failed to act based on what they thought they saw.

We urge the county council to invite Horse Rescue South to their next meeting, and to listen this time to what they have to offer you.

As we reported Thursday, you did a lot more talking than listening.

You missed their offer.

We think Becky Thorn and Jo Sodrel could have done a better job presenting it, but the point most important to you was mentioned: The county is likely to spend very little. Horse Rescue South would bill you for services they provide, then will help you get your money back.

Horse Rescue South Inc. will provide the expertise needed when the sheriff has to seize animals that are being abused or neglected. The group will ensure horses that can survive are given any medical treatment they need. They will arrange humane euthanization of those that can’t.

You county council members saw a contract full of language explaining what Horse Rescue South would charge for the expertise and services it would provide, which would include the documentation necessary to prosecute the guilty.

That documentation will provide the basis for recovering – from the abusive or neglectful animal owners – the money spent in rescuing the horses. With evidence in hand, it will be the job of the county prosecutor and judge to make the guilty pay what’s fair.

You heard the rescuers tell you they will charge only for horses or other equines seized by the sheriff, and they have determined they should charge $170.24 for each one. They provided you a list showing 21 horses were seized since 2009. That amounts to $3,575.04, or an average of just under $894 annually. Even if the county were unable to recoup the costs, they are minimal.

As the county council is responsible for pinching the county’s pennies, it’s natural for its members to view such an agreement with caution. Newly elected as the council president, Steve Goodson said he did – at first. Then he looked deeper into what the contract would mean, and seemed ready to vote for its approval.

He opened the issue to discussion, however, and council members who seemed to have made up their minds dominated the conversation until the issue died without action one way or another.

Councilman Chet Mathena, as he has in the past, questioned the wisdom of having “four animal organizations” in the county. In doing so, he confuses public with private organizations and implies taxpayers pay for all of them. His question was not relevant to whether the county should accept the rescue group’s offer. Nor was Councilman Ron Crawford’s point that the council refused a Humane Society request to help pay for animals injured on roads. The way he worded it, the council had denied a request to fund the Humane Society of Perry County. As that chapter’s president pointed out, the Humane Society would have received nothing under that proposal and refuses to accept county funds.

Councilwoman Dianne Rudolph expressed concern the council would be “paying for somebody else’s hobby” because she’d read a News report that said the rescue group helps people who can’t or don’t know how to properly care for their horses. She, too, was confusing some of what the group does with what it was proposing to the council.

The county commissioners approved the Horse Rescue South proposal, contingent upon the council’s agreement to fund it. We urge them to help the group get onto the council’s next agenda and revive what Goodson declared to be a dead issue, then attend and explain why they think the proposal is a good idea.

We think it’s an excellent idea, and we think you’ll agree, council members, if you’ll only listen.

Our view: Editorials reflect the opinions of the newspaper.

Your view: Tell us what you think. Send e-mail to us at editor@perrycounty news.com or mail your comments to P.O. Box 309, Tell City, IN 47586.