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.
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