Caldwell responds to comments about shelter

Nola Sizemore Staff Writer

September 14, 2013

Responding to comments made at a recent meeting of the Loyall City Council in regard to the Harlan County Animal Shelter, Duncan Caldwell, Harlan County Animal Control Officer and shelter manager, said his records have been inspected and found to be satisfactory.

“It seems to me, Dr. Doug Mickey’s biggest complaint is about stray cats,” said Caldwell. “I have talked with Dr. Lauren Wagner, with the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners, who came to the shelter approximately three weeks ago and did an inspection, and he reported “everything was satisfactory.”

Caldwell said during the inspection his euthanizing records, licensing and documents regarding the recent distemper outbreak were checked and all “were found to be in order and satisfactory.”

“I asked Dr. Wagner if there was a law in the state of Kentucky pertaining to cats and he responded by saying no, the shelter does not have to accept cats,” said Caldwell. “He said it has become an open policy for shelters across the state to accept cats, but in actuality they can’t legally do it.”

I also contacted Dr. Bradley A. Keough, Deputy State Veterinarian with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in regard to the Harlan County Animal Shelter, and was advised there were no problems existing at this time.

After submitting an open record request to the Harlan Fiscal Court in regard to the Harlan County Animal Shelter Advisory Board, Caldwell said in an advisory board meeting in 2005, before he was employed with the shelter, it was stated that “the animal control officer has the authority to hold as long as he sees fit an adoptable animal in the shelter.”

After closing the shelter recently for a distemper outbreak, Caldwell said the shelter reopened two weeks ago and has already conducted one rescue transport and “is almost full again.”

“The shelter’s policy is to attempt to place every animal into a loving home,” said Caldwell. “Euthanizing animals is the last resort we wish to take at the Harlan County Animal Shelter.”

Caldwell said he and his staff, consisting of three full-time and one part-time employee including himself, are continually out every day picking up stray dogs across Harlan County.

“We have come from an old garage to a nice facility,” said Caldwell. “At our animal shelter, we have 56 inside kennels, four outside runs, a puppy room and another small room we also have use of,” said Caldwell. “I’d like to say that we, at the animal shelter and those in the public who give us support, are the voice for those who can’t speak for themselves — our animals.”

Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop referred all comments to Duncan Caldwell.

Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, nsizemore@civitasmedia.com