Daviess Fiscal Court will consider on Thursday establishing and advertising for a position of county veterinarian, a job that will primarily focus on spaying and neutering animals, as well as setting up a clinic at the Daviess County Animal Shelter.

It was not the county’s aim to get into the veterinary business, but with the passing of Dr. Walter Marsh of the East Side Animal Hospital, county officials were forced to think outside of the box, said Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly.

“It was never our intention to get into the vet business, but we were forced to,” he said. “After the passing of Dr. Marsch, his son didn’t have the personnel to continue the service.”

After the end of its arrangement with East Side Animal Hospital, the county was forced to seek alternatives, said Mattingly.

“We went out and did a request for proposals for veterinary services and received no responses whatsoever,” he said. “In further conversations with vets in the area, we were told that they weren’t sure they could provide us with the level of service that we had with Dr. Marsch.”

Currently, the county has to euthanize roughly 22% of animals brought into the shelter. Without the veterinarian and county clinic, that number could triple, Mattingly said.

“Without the ability to spay and neuter and do the other things that allow us to foster and adopt out animals, that 22% would grow and that is unacceptable,” he said. “The commission and I would prefer that we be a 100% no-kill shelter and we look forward to the day that we can get there. The reality now is that some animals will have to be put down, but having our own vet and clinic will significantly lessen that number and bring us one step closer to a no-kill shelter.”

As far as the funding for the new clinic and veterinarian position, there is a pot of money set aside solely for the care of animals, Mattingly said.

“The funding will come out of the Carl Henry Animal Shelter Trust Fund,” he said. “That fund is set aside to hold bequests for folks on the behalf of animals. We have had folks that have passed away and in their will leave X amount of dollars to the shelter. We are anticipating taking $200,000 out of the fund to build offices at the Daviess County Animal Shelter for the vet and vet-tech, leaving $50,000 in the fund. We firmly believe that this clinic will be self-sustaining, allow us to set programs and special rates for the community and allow us to ensure that these animals have the care that they deserve.”

Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, jmulliken@messenger-inquirer.com

Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, jmulliken@messenger-inquirer.com

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