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LETTER: Animal control ordinance all about money

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Jim Carter, president of the Perry County Humane Society, failed to address any of my concerns in the article that appeared in Thursday’s edition of The Perry County News.

He claims that my letter contained information that needed to be corrected. Apparently, he had a problem with my use of the word “tax.” When I wrote, “it’s unfair to tax a cat, ferret or dog owner $10 a year,” I was using the word as a verb.

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the word as a verb means to make heavy demands on. That is exactly what this proposed ordinance will do to the Perry County residents who own a cat or dog. Whether the charge is listed as a tax or a fee, the out-of-pocket expense is still $10 annually for an intact cat or dog, while a horse, mule or donkey that is also intact is absolutely free.

Can anyone explain to me how Mr. Carter and the committee consider this to be fair? Why does Mr. Carter continue to purposely mislead the public by not mentioning the $10 annual fee for an intact cat? Page 11. Section 8. (iii) of the ordinance plainly states: Male or female cat; not neutered or spayed, $10 annually.

I’m glad Mr. Carter brought up the subject of the $1 dog tax that goes to Purdue University. Let’s inform the residents of Perry County just how Purdue uses some of the money Mr. Carter and the committee propose that we send them.

Would it surprise you to learn that some of that $1 dog tax is used to purchase perfectly healthy dogs to be used for testing and then euthanized? Isn’t it contradictory for a proposed animal-welfare and control ordinance committee to advocate this practice?

In the past, this practice has encouraged dog thieves to travel the countryside and steal dogs to sell for $35 a head.

My opinion that the proposed ordinance is unconstitutional is based on its restrictive and prohibitive requirements of a breeder. The Constitution gives us the right to obtain, own and possess property.

According to Indiana state law, your pets are your property. If someone unlawfully shoots your pet then you are only allowed to sue for the estimated value of the property loss, not entitled to sue for punitive or other damages.

Indiana law very clearly defines your animals as your property. Therefore it is your right to own a pet. It is not a “privilege,” as Mr. Carter wrongfully stated in a public meeting. Webster defines “privilege” as a right or liberty granted as favor or benefit especially to some and not others.

The proposed ordinance, if passed, would make owning a pet affordable to only the rich. That’s why I consider this proposed ordinance to be unconstitutional.

After meeting and talking to my 10 closest pet-owning neighbors, I took an unofficial poll.

Would you believe that not one of them thought that the county needed a full-time animal-control officer? One neighbor suggested that the Perry County sheriff’s office could appoint an existing sheriff's deputy to do the job part time.

I actually like that idea and would wholeheartedly support an ordinance of this nature. I fully trust that Sheriff Lee Chestnut, if given the proper funding, would do an outstanding job of overseeing this.

After all, who’s better qualified to enforce the law, the elected sheriff or an appointed animal-control officer who would answer to the proposed board and county commissioners?

Pet-owning citizens of Perry County should not be confused by Mr. Carter’s claims. This proposed ordinance is about money, money and more money.

Again, thank you for taking the time to read my concerns. I hope I clarified my views to everyone’s satisfaction.

REX R. ROBINSON
Cannelton