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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Neighbors Feel White River Humane Society new building site is wrong location

MITCHELL - JULY 27, 2023 - On August 30, 2023, the groundbreaking ceremony for the new White River Humane Society will be held.


Photo: The new location for the White River Humane Society at Indiana State Road 37 and Wesley Chapel Road south of Bedford, Indiana.


Residents in the area of the new White River Humane Society have expressed concerns about the environment, noise, smells, stray animals and safety of animals close to a busy state highway.


Lawrence County does not have a Plan Commission or Land Use Policy for any resident to take their complaints or concerns about the issue.


" This will have a great impact on myself trying to sell my home," stated Jacob Slaten.


All of those interviewed for this news feature stated they support the mission of the White River Humane Society, but it should not be placed next to a residential neighborhood.


" When I worked for the City of Bedford, by the existing White River Humane Society the incinerator emits bad smells, there are just bad smalls in general, and there was noise at the facility with dogs barking constantly," said Larry Reed Jr. whose home is close to the new site.


Most believe the quality of life will change forever, once the White River Humane Society building project is completed.


Jacob Slaten started a petition drive, this week to seek against the location. To date, 41 signatures have been signed with those living in the area, as well as Bloomington.



Photo: Dwight Dunbar Pastor Work of God Church is concerned about the safety of his congregation if the WRHS builds next to his church property


The land for the White River Humane Society was donated by Dana and Brenda Dunbar back in December 2022 according to land records obtained by the Lawrence County Zephyr.


Dwight Dunbar Pastor of the Work of God Church is concerned about the safety of his parishioners with the possibility of stray dogs being left in the area to dispose of pets that families no longer want. The worry of rabid or aggressive animals that have been left in the area, with residents not properly turning the pets in to the agency is concerning.


Photo: A trail that is on the property of the Work of God Church runs next to the new proposed White River Humane Society


This would be nice if the Board of Directors of WRHS would have considered the residents in deciding to locate in this area.


" I do not know what kind of issues we are going to have with the caves that are in the area. The Indiana Department of Transportation had to conduct environmental.

studies for the blind fish," said Larry Reed Jr.


All four who talked with the Lawrence County Zephyr which included Mike Blackburn, Larry Reed Jr., Jacob Slaten, and Pastor Dwight Dunbar had nothing but to say good things about the mission of the Humane Society.


" I got a rescue dog from the White River Humane Society; I believe in their cause. I just do not feel this is the best location for their facility," said Jacob Slaten.


The main concern is the quality of life and property values for the residents is the main reason the group is opposed to the idea of the WHRS building site.


There are several nice homes in the area that they believe the re-sell of their homes and property will be difficult and depreciate in value.


Lawrence County Zephyr asked the White River Humane Society Director Debbie Stailey if they would like to make a statement on this developing news story to which they have declined at this time.


Photo: The groundbreaking for the facility will be held on August 30th


The White River Humane Society will be asking for the City of Bedford, Lawrence County Commissioners, Lawrence County Council, Town of Oolitic and City of Mitchell for an increase in funding.


According to White River Humane Society the no-kill shelter is in need of more funds to be able to take care of the growing number of dogs and cats that are being held at the shelter.


The White River Humane Society have asked Lawrence County officials to change their policy on the days animals are placed on hold by the county.


In addition, there is no cost estimate on how much this would impact the budget of City of Bedford having to travel a longer distance to the site.


The hours of the business operation have also been reduced or trying to locate someone who is on staff of the White River Humane Society have been a concern and expressed by those opposed to the new location.


Residents hope there can be some kind of resolution before the White River Humane Society gets underway.


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