Animal Control Chief out in Hendricks County

Advocates say shelter going in right direction

HENDRICKS COUNTY, Ind. - Controversial Hendricks County Animal Control Chief Mary Anne Lewis is no longer an employee with the county, Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney reported.

Shelter director Ladonna Hughes told Kenney she will handle animal control duties for the time being, and that the county is in the process of transferring Animal Control duties to the shelter building.

Last summer, the Call 6 Investigators reported Lewis was removed from her duties at the county animal shelter, yet continued to oversee animal control, under the supervision of the sheriff at the work release center.

It’s unclear what circumstances led to Lewis leaving Hendricks County.

Michael Graham, administrator to the Board of County Commissioners, refused to comment on Lewis’ departure when contacted several times Thursday and no one answered the phone at human resources when Kenney called multiple times.

Lewis' departure comes after criticism of Lewis and the shelter’s policies and euthanasia rates while she served as shelter director.

Hughes said Thursday the shelter has made great progress, including a new website and increased adoptions.

Allies for All Animals, an advocacy group once vocal of Lewis and the shelter, had nothing but praise Thursday for Hughes and what she’s done for the facility.

"In the past year since LaDonna took over the reins, she has really turned the facility around 180 degrees to make it a facility we can all be proud of," said Sheryl Sackett of Allies for All Animals. "They are now open all Saturdays and Sundays, which is much different from their old M-F hours and is now much more convenient for the public."

Sackett said in the past year, the shelter has formed strong partnerships with community rescue groups and foster programs and has boosted the number of fundraising events.

"They have created a warm and friendly brand that inspires potential adopters to consider adopting from their shelter," Sackett said. "Animals are now being taken to satellite adoption events, including recently taken to the very successful Indy MEGA Adoption Event, which helped to adopt out many of their longtime residents. And the shelter now hosts weekly adoption events at their facility! This was all unheard of just one year ago."

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