Indiana county is revisiting animal control ordinance

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Lions, tigers, etc., were originally to be included in this ordinance:

Hybrid wolves at center of discussion euthanized

By Dick Kaukas
The Courier-Journal
Saturday, March 24, 2007

Floyd County officials and others have written a new draft of an animal control ordinance, and the proposal will be discussed at a public meeting next month.

But the hybrid wolves at the center of the issue — sparking complaints from neighbors and discussion about adopting such controls — have been euthanized at the request of the family that kept them.

“We were tired of all the chaos,” said Brittany Lark, 20, the daughter of Steve Lark of Georgetown, who owned the hybrid wolves.

County Attorney Rick Fox said yesterday that he wants public comment on the ordinance so it can be changed, if necessary, before the county commissioners consider the measure.

Fox said the public meeting is scheduled to follow the commissioner’s regular meeting at 6 p.m. April 3 in the City-County Building in downtown New Albany.

Steve Lohmeyer wrote a previous draft at the end of last year, when he was the county attorney. Residents attended public meetings to discuss the proposed law.

The commission, with a new 2-1 Republican majority, appointed Fox to replace Lohmeyer in January. Fox has been considering changes since then.

Fox said the new draft is similar to New Albany’s animal control ordinance and was worked out after consultations with a number of people, including David Hall, head of the New Albany Floyd County Animal Control and Shelter.

The 26-page draft is about half as long as the earlier version, but covers some of the same ground. For example, it defines “running at large” as “not under restraint or in direct control” of the owner, and says allowing animals to run at large “shall be unlawful.”

Impounded animals can be recovered under the ordinance by paying a fee ranging from $10 to $50.

The push for an ordinance started last year when several Georgetown residents complained that hybrid wolves, a cross between wolves and dogs, were being allowed to run near their homes.

Steve Lark acknowledged he was raising the hybrid wolves but said they were kept inside a fenced area, although he also said a few occasionally got loose for short periods.

Yesterday, Fox said he had been told that the hybrid wolves had been destroyed at the request of the Lark family.

Brittany Lark confirmed that. She said all the family’s hybrid wolves — nine adults and about the same number of puppies — were euthanized by a veterinarian who came to the family’s home on March 16. The animals were buried on the property, she said.

She said the family received frequent calls from neighbors complaining that the animals were loose “even when we were looking right at them” in their enclosure.

“I was upset,” she said. “I couldn’t be here when the vet did it.”

She said the family now has two dogs, a shepherd and a malamute, and a puppy.

Susan Dunker, who lives nearby, said last night that it was “just heartbreaking” that the animals were euthanized. She said she and other residents had hoped “asylum” could have been found somewhere for the hybrid wolves.

Reporter Dick Kaukas can be reached at (812) 949-4033.

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