By Jeff Fox

Local officials have taken another step toward dealing with stray animals and other issues related to the new Regional Animal Shelter.

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders has appointed three people to the newly formed Animal Welfare Committee, and Independence Mayor Don Reimal has appointed two members.

The county opened the new shelter early this year, replacing the city’s old shelter. Animals from the city and from unincorporated parts of the county are taken there. Although much larger than the one it replaced, the new shelter has been full since it opened – cats are particular problem – and city and county have disagreed over how to address that and some other issues.

The committee, called for in the agreement from last March on how to run the shelter, is advisory. Its job is to promote spray-and-neuter programs, support education programs related to pets, and take up any complaints about how animals are being treated. Its recommendations would go to the mayor, City Council, county executive and County Legislature.

“We think it’ll be a good bridge between both the city and the county,” said the county’s chief operations officer, Shelley Temple-Kneuvean. She suggested the pet population issue could be among the first issues to be tackled.

Sanders has appointed:

• Robert C. Paden Jr., a Lee’s Summit attorney and volunteer at Great Plains SPCA, the group the county has contracted to run the shelter.

• Daniel E. Hecker, a Kansas City veterinarian.

• Linda Humphrey of Independence, a longtime volunteer at Animals Best Friends, a non-profit in Independence.

Reimal has appointed:

• Tim Watkins of Independence.

• Edward S. John, a Lee’s Summit veterinarian.