Animal Shelter Plans Cause Concern - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

5/21/08 - Center

Animal Shelter Plans Cause Concern

by Donna McCollum

Rudy Eddington raises Walker hunting hounds used primarily to hunt fox and coyote. Eddington said with his hounds around him,  " After our family and God, our animals come next to us. " He says he's all for an animal shelter in Shelby county, but under certain stipulations. Eddington explained,  " We want to do it ourselves. We want the shelter to be privately run by Shelby County and paid for by Shelby County. We do not believe in outside interests coming in. " There's anxiety among hunting dog breeders that outside grants could be tied to extreme animal rights advocates. Eddington said,  " We don't want outside entities being a part of our government telling us what to do here in this county."

Money must come from somewhere. Property may need to be purchased. And every shelter manager knows they're expensive to run. Bethany Stephens, one of the first proponents of a shelter says her only motive is to protect animals.    " I think we can all agree that animals need food, water and shelter. Beyond that, there's really not much of an issue,"  said Stephens. Until Wednesday, Stephens was president of the local chapter of the Progressive Animal Welfare Society. She resigned after allegations surfaced that a paw officer arranged for some dogs to be euthnized. They were assumed abandoned, but weren't. Assumed authority can be risky. Stephens explained,  " We would also look into where we're going to hire an animal control officer because they have to be certified by the state of Texas. "  She's serving on a committee of county and city representatives that's been researching various shelter plans in the area.

Most everyone agrees unwanted animals don't need to be roaming the streets. Yet how to put them in a safe environment remains to be seen. A plan will be presented to the Shelby County Commission in June.

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