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Indiana lawmaker helps save unwanted pets

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 8:38 am

INDIANAPOLIS — A northwestern Indiana lawmaker frustrated in her attempts to enact a spay-and-neuter program in the state has found another way to prevent the deaths of unwanted pets.

Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, helped load cages holding more than 100 dogs and cats Thursday into four vans operated by the CanINE Express Transport Project, which each month transports unwanted pets more than 1,000 miles to animal shelters in New England, where spay-and-neuter laws have minimized the surplus pet population.

"We don't need to be doing this; it's absolutely unnecessary," Lawson told The (Munster) Times (http://bit.ly/PC40WL ).

Lawson's efforts to enact a spay-and neuter-program for low-income pet owners and to charge a $50 fee on Hoosiers purchasing unsterilized pets have failed, repeatedly, to advance in the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

"It's really hard to convince folks that this is the right thing to do," she said. "This is not something that they are familiar with, and it's not something that they really support."

The transport project has relocated more than 9,000 animals in the past decade. Founder Cathi Eagan said shelters would have no choice but to euthanize the pets because they have limited space.

"It's not their fault, they're doing the best they can here in Indiana, but there's too many dogs and cats for the facilities that we have," Eagan said.

Jessica Lifford, executive director of the Indianapolis Humane Society's Animal Welfare Center, said studies show targeted spay-and-neuter programs are successful at reducing the number of animals that come into shelters and the proportion of those animals that subsequently are euthanized.