Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 7, 2012

Pals for Paws turned down

Residents sign petition against clinic.

By Scott Smith

— The Howard County commissioners this week delivered a blow to local animal advocates hoping to build a low-cost spay/neuter clinic on 400 South.

Pals for Paws members have been seeking a rezoning of property in rural Howard County, about 7 miles east of Kokomo.

Kokomo attorney Tom Trauring spoke on behalf of opponents of the plan Monday, saying 169 area residents had signed a petition against the plan.

“It’s a noble cause, but the subject is whether this is an appropriate land use,” Trauring said. He said the area, at Ind. 26 and 700 East, “is trending toward residential use.”

At a November meeting of the Howard County Plan Commission, the clinic received an unfavorable recommendation.

Patricia Kelly, who lives near the proposed site, said though she appreciates Pals for Paws’ cause, she does not want the organization as a neighbor.

“I appreciate the passion that these people have. It is noble. It is beautiful,” she said. “However, I think it would be more beautiful located somewhere else than in my area.”

At the November meeting, Mary Wilborn, president of Pals for Paws, said the concerns are unfounded, and invited neighbors to visit her home, where she said she fosters dogs.

Wilborn didn’t attend Monday’s commissioners’ meeting, but sent a letter to the commissioners, which Pals for Paws volunteer Deb Smith read at the meeting.

In the letter, Wilborn anticipated that the commissioners would turn down the project.

“Our efforts to help animals have fallen on deaf ears,” she wrote. “Apparently, talk is cheap.”

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-271-6065 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com.