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County officials warn that dog, cat problems will only get worse in time

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By The Staff

    SHEPHERDSVILLE - The problem was clear but the solution is becoming more troubling for county officials.

    Deputy county judge Billy Roy Shepherd said a call was made to the office. It was a trend that is becoming more popular - stray dogs and cats.

    However, when Shepherd and county judge Melanie Roberts joined animal control officials, the problem at this particular mobile home was worse than expected.

    Shepherd said there was 26 dogs found in the trailer and the living conditions were horrible. The renter was in the hospital but the dogs were left behind to fend for themselves.

    Since the disclosure of the problem, the dogs have been removed but Shepherd said the trailer is still a mess and it a health hazard.

    However, Dr. Swannie Jett, director of the Bullitt County Public Health Department, said that his staff didn’t find the ingredients needed to call it a health hazard.

    “It hasn’t become a health issue,” said Jett.

    He said it would be considered a nuisance but there is a criminal procedure to follow to deal with such an issue.

    Things that happen inside the residence do not fall into the jurisdiction of the health department. If the event happened in Jefferson County, Jett said there would be a different situation.

    Shepherd said he was just looking for someone to give the county the right to destroy the trailer and clean up the property.

    Bullitt County Attorney Walter Sholar said that there is a nuisance ordinance and solid waste enforcement officer Larry Hatfield could take a complaint.

    Once the owners are cited and they don’t clean up the nuisance, then there could be some recourse, said Sholar.

    Shepherd said he is concerned because the number of complaint calls on dogs and cats hit a record high the past month.

    “This is going to get worse,” predicted Shepherd.

    While not providing a solution to that particular issue, the county did sign an agreement with the Hope for Pets organization.

    The agreement would allow the county to provide $2,500 this fiscal year to the organization for providing programs to control the pet population.

    Kathy Rice, president of the organization, said the group offers the spay and neuter clinic at the Bullitt Count Animal Shelter for cats, transportation of animals to the spay and neuter clinics provided by the Kentucky Humane Society and a trap, neuter and release program for cats.

    The latter program concerned magistrate David Walker, who didn’t understand why the feral cats would be trapped and then released.

    Rice said the program is in the planning stages of that program. The idea is to at least spay or neuter the cats before they are returned to their community. It would control the ever-growing cat population.

    As part of the agreement, the Hope for Pets program would be allowed to store some of its equipment at the Bullitt County Animal Shelter.

    “We’ve reached a big milestone today,” said Rice in thanking the magistrates for the contribution. “This is a national issue and I’m proud to see Bullitt County being part of it.”