Zook, Waterman stepping down from animal shelter leadership

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Staff Writer



ROCKPORT – After more than five years on the job, Spencer County Animal Shelter administrators Joy Zook and Susan Waterman are planning to step aside from their volunteer positions. Collectively, the two have shepherded the facility since its inception and helped it grow its services in the county. Citing health concerns and an inability to keep up with the demands of the job, however, the two are seeking exit by the end of March.

Replacing the duo will be a priority for the county commissioners, as the two administrators routinely put in 20 to 24 hours working at the shelter per week. In tandem with the facility’s two part-time workers, Waterman and Zook have been a fixture in many of the everyday functions of running the shelter, including weed control.

Zook took pride in the high number of animals taken in by the shelter since it came online, totaling nearly 2,300, with euthanasia used only sparingly. She hoped the commissioners would have little trouble finding a replacement for the outgoing duo, though she understood that such a process would have to proceed relatively quickly. The two suggested finding a full-time replacement if possible, to fully account for the responsibilities they currently oversee. The commissioners are taking that possibility under advisement.

Waterman and Zook also offered some outgoing lauds for those who had a hand in helping organize the shelter, and some advice on what more needs to be done. They pointed to Jack Kroeger, David Gogel, Al Logsdon and Philip Brown in particular for their roles in helping organize the shelter and being good partners throughout its first years.

Zook also took a moment to advocate for more involvement from local law enforcement in handling vicious animals, particularly dogs. She noted that shelter resources are limited, and it can be difficult for animal control workers to respond to incidents throughout the county on their own. She argued that by encouraging training and procurement of equipment for animal handling, violent animals could be better handled the county.

“Somebody’s going to get hurt,” said Zook. “This has been an eye opener for me.”

The commissioners thanked Zook and Waterman for their efforts and swiftly added their replacement to their agenda for coming meetings.

In other business at the Feb. 20 meeting of the commissioners, board attorney Jeff Lindsey reported that property-maintenance letters have been issued to three landowners in Hatfield. These properties all have structures in various states of disrepair, and the issuance of violation letters has started the clock for action. Hearings on the matter will be held at 1 p.m. March 20.

As part of the reshuffle of court offices, the coroner’s office has been temporarily relocated to Boultinghouse Funeral Home, which has volunteered space for the time being at its Main Street location.

A more permanent home for the office is still in the works.