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08-30-06 Animal league objecting to closed door, no return policy

By Tim Cox

  Members of the Animal Protection League are unhappy with the outcome of their private meeting Tuesday with Mercer County Commissioner Bob Nuding about conditions at the county dog pound.

  Group members plan to discuss the issue further at a meeting today at the Orchard Tree Restaurant in Celina. The public is invited to the 6:30 p.m. meeting.

  According to information posted in the league's Web site, members are dissatisfied with the county's response to their concerns. They complained specifically about Commissioner Bob Nuding's refusal to agree to a second meeting with the group and Nuding's decision to close the meeting to the public.

  "We were under the understanding this would be a formal meeting with all the commissioners and would be open to the press," said the Web site statement, written by Annie Saintignon.

  Commissioners Jerry Laffin and Jim Zehringer were absent from Tuesday's meeting.  Group members also complained that during their closed-door session with Nuding, the commissioner refused to look at pictures they brought or to read a letter written by a local veterinarian supporting their concerns about the county dog pound.

  The group also claims that Nuding called one of their members later in the day and told her to "rein in" her group. Group members are upset about a recent fight among dogs at the pound that resulted in the death of a dog and injury to several others.

  Saintignon said members of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) want to join the local debate, but local animal rights activists have asked the national group to refrain for now. Group members are hoping to rally community support for their efforts to make improvements at the county dog pound.

  Saintignon said dog warden Tom Powell seemed receptive to the groups concerns but hopes county commissioners will also come on board with their efforts.

  "I hope the commissioners are aware of how serious this matter is to people, not only locally, but also nationally," the protection league's Web site statement says.


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