TIPTON COUNTY, Ind.—Hundreds of calls are made to the Tipton County 911 every year, but there’s no money for animal care and control.
In fact, the animal control barely exists.
Right now, the service in Tipton County is run by three volunteers, including two dispatchers.
When a call comes in about a stray animal, one of the three goes to get it and care for it.
“From September to February, I’ve went on 137 animal complaints,” said Jessica Moss, who oversees the animal control.
For two years, Moss and the other women have rounded up strays, treated them and worked to get them adopted, all with their own money.
Last September, county commissioners made Moss official.
But her new title didn’t come with a salary. In fact, one commissioner tells me there doesn’t even appear to be a an ordinance or resolution creating a county animal control.
There’s definitely no budget for it.
“This is all coming out of our pockets,” said Moss. “We’re not asking them to foot the whole bill for a shelter. We’re not asking for salaries. We’re just asking for some kind of help, some kind of backing from them.”
Moss and the others are using their own money to help return lost pets to owners, feed and house abandoned animals and turn skin-and-bones dogs like this one into healthy pups.
Moss claims they have no good support structure, not even the local humane society.
“I believe at one time, there was supposed to be an active shelter, the Tipton County Humane Society. There’s a building, but it’s not working. There are stray cats out there.”
Earlier this week, Moss went to the courthouse to ask commissioners for money. They rejected her $8,000 request last year.
This time, although she still wanted more, she was willing to settle for just the $300 the county budget used to provide. That was part of $240,000 worth of cuts made to bring the budget in line with revenue.
While acknowledging that wouldn’t come close to providing what the county should have.
“There is a need, especially for a shelter in Tipton,” said Moss. “We get calls every day about stray animals—stray cats, stray dogs. We need it. We need a shelter.”
Moss says they’re exploring their options, including one suggestion from the commissioners to start a 501(c)(3) organization. Then, the county could potentially contract their services or give them a donation that covers their expenses.
Commissioners are researching what needs to be done to operate animal control legally and what funds might be available. They plan to address the issue again at their next meeting on March 20th.