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June 25, 2013

Dog Gone

Animal Control purchases transport box with unusual gift

WHITLEY CITY —  One can never underestimate the human capacity to love animals.

    McCreary County Animal Control last week received a much-needed aluminum dog box through a gift from a man county officials had never heard of, let alone met.

    When Bland Hardison — a Muhlenberg County dairy farmer — passed away in 2008 at the age of 86, he had set aside nearly $1 million to be divided amongst various charities. The bequest included $225,000 to be divided among each of Kentucky’s 120 counties to go toward their animal shelters.

    The estate took years to settle but last March, counties began to receive checks amounting to just over $1,400.

    Hardison’s widow Jonell was quoted by the Associated Press at the time that her husband loved all his pets and took in stray cats that would wander onto their farm.

    Even small counties like McCreary, which has no shelter of its own, received a donation.

    The department has a $62,000 budget but nearly half that is consumed by the contract with an outside agency to accept McCreary’s strays.

    Local animal control officer Milford Creekmore II transports stray animals to the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter in Rockholds. Since he’s had the job, Creekmore had to use pet carriers — which could be uncomfortable for particularly large dogs and easily overcrowded. Combined with $1,000 from the county and a $500 insurance deductible recently reimbursed, Hardison’s gift was used to equip the animal control truck with the aluminum box.

    Not only larger, the dog box is better ventilated and features separate compartments for cats and storage.

    Creekmore was joined by Deputy Judge-Executive Andrew Powell in expressing the county’s appreciation to the Hardison estate.

    In addition to the animal control programs, Hardison also left donations for the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and the Arthritis Foundation. He also left $2,500 each to 235 cemeteries around the Commonwealth for maintenance and upkeep.

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