Judge executive takes on dog issue

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by WILLIAM B. CARROLL, Spencer Magnet Editor
The Laura Pope kennel saga has spread to Spencer County Fiscal Court where Judge Executive Bill Karrer chastised citizens for forming opinions without possessing all of the facts in the case.
“I am unimpressed with folks that make assumptions and make statements that are wrong, and try to get this court to do things outside our purview” Karrer said.
Karrer read an expletive laden email he received from Scott Brouse which directly insulted Karrer and accused him of getting paid off to approve Pope’s kennels. Karrer said that this email was consistent with some of the nearly 9,000 emails and petition signatures he received in the matter.
Prior to Karrer’s speech, six citizens were allowed an opportunity to address the commission regarding their opinion of Pope and the condition of the animals on her property.
“The county has been tried in the court of public opinion,” Teresa Pfeiffer, a resident of Elk Creek said. “It looks like we are condoning a puppy mill. I would ask the court to amend our ordinances to discourage large scale breeders in Spencer County.”
“I have been to Laura Pope’s house and the conditions are deplorable,” Rebecca Glaser said. “I am saddened and would like to see a change.”
Roy Wyatt, a neighbor of Pope’s said, “The dogs are on chains 24 hours a day. She feeds them one cup a day, which she throws on the ground. It is all they eat except what they dispose of and have to eat again. If y’all think its right, someone needs to talk to you about right and wrong.”
Tyler Boyer, who said he has known Pope for three years said,” Laura Pope runs a puppy mill. She defrauds reputable breeders and does over 15 litters a year.”
Boyer added, “What is the county going to do to correct the ordinances?”
Karrer said that he has been to the property three to four times and that each time he checked the property to determine if each dog had its own dog house and whether there was a large amount of urine or feces at the property. Karrer said that he did find some animal droppings but that he had to look to find the droppings. Several of the citizens who spoke said that the animals were basically living in their own urine and feces.
“Our scope of responsibility is pretty narrow,” Karrer said. “It has nothing to do with who owns what dog, who has tax numbers, who has paid their kennel bill or not and who has what property rights.”
“Can you imagine county taking the dogs?” Karrer added. “Last time it cost $100,000 just in the care of the dogs. We are continuing to investigate the matter.”
Karrer said that the county, with assistance from several other agencies including Henry County and Trimbull County rescued 28 dogs. The animals were inspected by local veterinarian Dr. Dan Bension, who gave each of the animals a clean bill of health, according to Karrer.
Karrer said that the animals had already been placed in the Chicago area.
Karrer also used the meeting as a chance to perform a “plastectomy” on the county’s credit card.
During the March 3 Fiscal Court meeting, magistrates questioned a $99.93 interest charge relating to the county’s credit card bill. Karrer researched the issue and determined that $60.93 of the charge was due to interest and the other $39 was the result of a late fee due to the timing of the payment. Karrer said that late payments are common because of when the fiscal court votes to approve payment of expenses. He told the court that his name is on the card and that he would not have his credit sullied by the county. Karrer gave the magistrates an opportunity to come up with a plan to resolve the matter and, hearing only silence from the magistrates, cut up the county’s card in front of the assembled audience.
In other matters before the court:
• The magistrates approved the purchase of two new mowers from Louisville tractor for a total price of $17,359.02 and a John Deere tractor for $17,799.35.
• Karrer said that the Old Heady Road bridge project is progressing. He said that he anticipates the project will be completed within the next couple of weeks.
• Sheriff Buddy Stump provided a list of vehicles used by his department pursuant to a previous request from the magistrates.
• Karrer said that the county will have $150,066.00 in flex funds for county year 2014/2015.
• The magistrates unanimously approved County Clerk Lynn Hesselbrock’s computer upgrade proposal. Hesselbrock proposed purchasing six new Dell personal computers and printers and offsetting the cost by trading in 6 older printers at $75.00 each for a total cost of $10,488.00
•The magistrates approved the counties, expenditures, purchases, invoices and transfers.
• The magistrates approved updates to the county’s building code and a first reading of an ordinance that would require the judge executive to provide information regarding injuries to county employees and damage to county property to the magistrates within 24 hours.
• The magistrates approved the appointment of Linda Greenwell to the tax board.
• The magistrates were presented with the 2014-2015 proposed jail budget which shows a total budgeted amount of $318,350.
• The magistrates reviewed reports from the K9 office, Shelby County Animal Shelter & Bluegrass recycling.