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Residents raise stink over temporary dog shelter

Published: Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler is desperately searching for a place near Custer to temporarily house stray dogs. He found out at Monday evening’s Custer City Council meeting that those in the area of the place he planned to do so are emphatically against that location.
Wheeler and his staff have been using the old well house at Washington and 11th streets to house stray dogs temporarily and sought to use the building for up to three years until a more permanent solution could be found. Those who live or have businesses near that well house spoke out against that plan, however, raising worries about barking dogs, smells coming from the building and other issues during a hearing on the temporary shelter.
Much of the discussion centered around who should receive the most “sympathy” from the sheriff’s department when an animal is picked up—the pet owner or those in the area of the temporary shelter. Because it costs a pet owner hundreds of dollars to retrieve their dog once it is taken to the Humane Society, Wheeler said he doesn’t want to immediately ship away a dog that is caught.
Those in attendance didn’t share Wheeler’s sympathy for the pet owners, with many saying if they can’t keep their dog in their yard, they shouldn’t have one and that paying such a large fine to retrieve their pet would be a good lesson for them.
“I think we should hear a little more sympathy for business owners in the area,” said Larry Weelborg, who owns Jalar Transportation, which sits on the hill above the well house. He argued if the city and sheriff’s department were going to “devalue” people’s property by putting a dog facility near it, then property taxes should go down.
Those in attendance expressed concern that over time the facility would house more and more dogs for longer and longer stretches of time, but Wheeler assured them that wouldn’t happen on his watch, saying no dog has spent more than six hours at a time there­ and that the sheriff’s department bends over backwards trying to find the owners of the dogs in a timely manner.

Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler is desperately searching for a place near Custer to temporarily house stray dogs. He found out at Monday evening’s Custer City Council meeting that those in the area of the place he planned to do so are emphatically against that location.

Wheeler and his staff have been using the old well house at Washington and 11th streets to house stray dogs temporarily and sought to use the building for up to three years until a more permanent solution could be found. Those who live or have businesses near that well house spoke out against that plan, however, raising worries about barking dogs, smells coming from the building and other issues during a hearing on the temporary shelter.

Much of the discussion centered around who should receive the most “sympathy” from the sheriff’s department when an animal is picked up—the pet owner or those in the area of the temporary shelter. Because it costs a pet owner hundreds of dollars to retrieve their dog once it is taken to the Humane Society, Wheeler said he doesn’t want to immediately ship away a dog that is caught.

Those in attendance didn’t share Wheeler’s sympathy for the pet owners, with many saying if they can’t keep their dog in their yard, they shouldn’t have one and that paying such a large fine to retrieve their pet would be a good lesson for them.

“I think we should hear a little more sympathy for business owners in the area,” said Larry Weelborg, who owns Jalar Transportation, which sits on the hill above the well house. He argued if the city and sheriff’s department were going to “devalue” people’s property by putting a dog facility near it, then property taxes should go down.

Those in attendance expressed concern that over time the facility would house more and more dogs for longer and longer stretches of time, but Wheeler assured them that wouldn’t happen on his watch, saying no dog has spent more than six hours at a time there­ and that the sheriff’s department bends over backwards trying to find the owners of the dogs in a timely manner.

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Current Comments

5 comments so far (post your own)
Todd Simmons
April 30th, 2014 at 06:53am

I don't see any issue as this being a temporary fix. I certainly disagree that this is going to devalue any business. What is next, will the City get blamed for the business being vacant most of the time anyway? Pet's deserve better and I'm glad somebody is watching out for them!

Dawn Ellis
April 30th, 2014 at 10:04am

Custer needs something for strays and unwanted animals. That being said, I don't think people should have pets if they're not able to keep them restrained, preferably behind a fenced yard. Too many folks just get pet after pet and keep them chained up, thus making the poor thing want to 'break free' as soon as they have opportunity. Law enforcement should also start writing tickets for pet owners who don't clean up the droppings, especially on the Michelson Trail. It really bothers me when tourists walk their dogs down the trail and let them defecate and don't clean it up. I guarantee you they wouldn't appreciate that behavior in their respective hometown.

Milton Stratton
May 2nd, 2014 at 00:27am

I think the golden rule could apply here. Treat others like you would want to be treated. Often household pets are being cared for/played with by children.

Maria May
May 6th, 2014 at 18:04pm

Um, doesn't Larry Weelborg have those huge VOTE FOR JOE signs on his place? Politics, pure and simple...

Todd Simmons
May 27th, 2014 at 05:28am

Good Point Maria, It seems that Larry and Joe always try to find away in the paper its just politics

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