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Rogers responds to rumors about animal shelter closing

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By Calen McKinney

Taylor County’s top official has responded to rumors circulating that the county’s animal shelter is closing for good.

At a press conference on Friday afternoon, Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers said there are misconceptions that the shelter is being closed.

That’s not true, he said, as the shelter will in mid-April become a holding facility. Adoptions will no longer be offered at the shelter, he said, and the county is in the midst of searching for a county to contract with to house its stray animals.

Magistrates voted to make that change last Tuesday. Since then, many residents have expressed their thoughts about the change and misinformation has spread, Rogers said.

At Friday’s press conference, which lasted about three minutes, Rogers said the county has received numerous open records requests over the past two years, which are allowed by law, but the expense to comply with those has been costly.

Rogers said the shelter is projected at costing more than $300,000 to operate for the year, which is 50 percent more than last year’s costs.

Rogers said the decision to no longer offer adoptions will save the county about $250,000 a year.

He said the county has continually properly cared for the animals that come to the shelter.

An attorney representing a shelter employee, who wasn’t named, expressed concern that an out-of-town attorney was following the worker so much that the worker felt harassed, Rogers said.

Rogers said it is in the best interest of the community that the shelter no longer operate as a pet adoption agency. The decision to do this was unanimous.

“[Magistrates] acted in the best interest of our community.”

All magistrates attended the press conference, though none spoke.

At the end of the press conference, Rogers said he would take no questions.

After television media representatives questioned him anyway, he and Taylor County Attorney John Bertram made statements and responded to questions.

Bertram said magistrates’ actions will actually save taxpayers money.

Rogers said stray animals will be housed at the shelter and taken once a day to whichever county contracts to house Taylor County animals. He said the animals will be kept at that shelter for five days before being eligible for adoption.

When asked to respond to a humane society report that states the shelter has treated animals inhumanely, Rogers said he has never seen such a report.

Bertram said Taylor County is a small county and has few employees that can devote time to answering requests like the one received last week, which contained 27 requests for information.

Bertram said such requests can become burdensome to county employees, when they require them to stop their work and spend hours to formulate a response. He said the issue isn’t that the requests are illegal, only that they are time consuming.

Bertram and Rogers denied accusations that animals and money are missing from the shelter.

Rogers said he believes the shelter was operating well, but the decision to discontinue adoptions is best.

“It’s the best for the community at this point,” he said. “It’s saving taxpayer money.”

Bertram said the county will address any issues, should they arise, with the use of the shelter’s $150,000 grant it received to build a new shelter.

“We’re in the top of any animal shelters in the state of Kentucky, in the care for animals,” Rogers said.

Rogers said all four of the shelter employees will remain county employees and no positions have been eliminated.