Members of the J.B. Ogle Animal Shelter’s Advisory Board resigned earlier this week, following a dispute about the city’s spay and neuter voucher program.
Board members have long been in charge of distributing vouchers to county residents seeking financial assistance paying to spay and neuter their pets. However, because the voucher program is paid for via a city non-reverting fund, Mayor Mike Moore has opted to put a city employee — shelter director Sarah Green — in charge of the voucher distribution.
“Those funds have to be controlled by the animal shelter director, not a private board,” Moore said in an interview Thursday.
The board only handed out vouchers, never money, said Margaret Morton, former board chairperson. Money from the fund was only handled by the city, via claims approved by the Jeffersonville City Council.
“The committee never handled funds,” Morton said.
“They don’t want us to have any part of it,” said Barbara Wilson, a former board member and former city council person.
The dispute, which also included disagreements about the application process for the vouchers, came to a head at a meeting of the Jeffersonville City Council last week. Board members spoke out against the administration and then submitted their resignations.
“I appreciate the time and hard work that the board did for Clark County,” Moore said. “Their answer was ‘it’s been done that way forever.’ [But] we have to follow the rule of law.”
KEEPING THE PROGRAM
The spay and neuter program is available to all county residents seeking financial aid for the procedure. Despite the recent controversy, Green said she wants to both keep the program and continue to expand it.
“There’s no way this is going away,” she said.
In the past, those seeking vouchers applied, had their application reviewed by the advisory board members, then got a phone call to come pick up a voucher later.
“I want to just go ahead and give it to them,” said Green, adding that they would have to prove they lived in Clark County. “I don’t understand the necessity of having an application process.” Green worried people would not make return trips to the shelter to apply for and then pick up vouchers after a waiting period.
Further, the board had a restriction that only allowed a household to have two vouchers per year. Green said she wants to do away with that restriction as well, because families often have more than two pets.