The county employee who oversees the shelter on a daily basis, Director Marsha Miller, has been off work recently to deal with serious family health problems. Rick Jenkins, who substitutes for her, had called in sick Monday.
Class D felons from the Boyle County Detention Center are used to clean the shelter. There have been two, but the number of state inmates has been reduced at the Danville lockup recently and only one was brought to the shelter to work. Trisler said the cleaning job is too much for one person to accomplish in the time allowed.
Will be visited by officials each day
The shelter normally is open from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. The two hours before the shelter opens to the public is when cleaning is done from the night before.
Donna Murphy, co-president of Mercer County Humane Society, credited Trisler for going to the shelter as soon as he received the first complaint.
To assure cleanliness, either Trisler or road department supervisor Billy Humphrey will go to the shelter each morning to see that it is clean before it opens.
Trisler said the problem was addressed by the end of the business day Monday. He said this morning that a second Class D prisoner has been added to the cleaning staff as well as one county employee.
The shelter is behind the county road department, and the building is about 30 years old. While improvements were made about 15 years ago, the county badly needs a more modern shelter, a goal shared by Trisler and the humane society, Murphy said.
While the county runs the shelter, the humane society helps pay for spaying and neutering dogs and cats. Trisler does not want to ask for further donations from the society, since its members already help with animals.
One of the complaints Trisler received was that Jenkins had taken a purebred dog from the shelter to breed with a dog he had at home.
Disciplinary action taken
"That's mostly true," Trisler said today. "He did take the dog home without approval from his supervisor or the humane society. He has been disciplined. He will return to the road department Monday because of this."
Trisler said Jenkins was filling in for Miller temporarily, and someone will have to be hired to replace her because the job cannot go unfilled.
Miller has not asked for a family medical leave, but the court approved such a leave Tuesday should she request it. Under the leave law, she will not be paid for the time she is off work and will have a job when she returns to work, but not necessarily the same job.
Murphy said it is unfortunate that Miller has been unable to continue as the animal shelter's director. "Marsha has experience and a tremendous heart and compassion. She wasn't afraid of hard work and had given tremendous service to the county for several years."
The well-being of the animals is the humane society's biggest concern, but members are all volunteers who have their own day jobs and cannot spend time at the shelter during the week, Murphy said.
The shelter is locked at 4:30 p.m. each weekday, and humane society members cannot gain access to it after hours. Members worked to have the shelter opened on Saturdays, and now it is. The hours are 10 a.m. until noon.
Trisler received 42 e-mails on the subject of the animal shelter, and he answered all of them personally Tuesday, he said today.
He also has called state Sen. Dan Kelly and Rep. Milward Dedman to explain action the county has taken.