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Merrillville to pay Lake County Sheriff's Office to house stray animals

Michael Gallenberger
Lakeshore Public Media

The town of Merrillville is turning to the Lake County Sheriff's Office to house its stray animals.

A memorandum of understanding approved by the town council Tuesday lets the town take animals to the Sheriff's Animal Control and Adoption Center. The sheriff's office will charge the town $60 per animal per month, plus the cost of any medical care.

Interim Town Manager Michael Griffin said it's the "least bad alternative," based on the resources available. "We have a problem with impoundment resources or capacity," Griffin told council members. "This will solve it. It's not ideal."

Last year, the Humane Society of Hobart called on communities to put plans in place, after stray animals were showing up at its shelter without compensation, with Merrillville cited as an example.

Police Chief Kosta Nuses noted Tuesday that many local communities don't pick up stray dogs. "They either try to get somebody to come pick them up, or they don't have an actual facility for them," Nuses explained. "The only thing they do address is dangerous animals."

The council agreed to appropriate $10,800 for the impoundment services. But Griffin noted that it may not be enough, and in any case, it will have to be revisited in budget discussions.

It was part of a larger, $92,245 additional appropriation out of the cumulative capital development fund. It also included $16,380 for rent and utilities at the North Side Police Station in the Broadway Plaza shopping center.