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The Associated Press
July 4, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS -- Officials want to use a trust fund as collateral to borrow money so the Humane Society of Indianapolis can continue to operate.

If the organization does not obtain a line of credit or drastically cut back on services, it will run out of money in August, said society board President Brent A. Bolick.

But five other animal welfare groups, including two "no-kill" shelters, contend that the trust's assets _ including the Humane Society site _ could be lost to creditors if the financial plan fails.

If the plan fails, they want to ensure that the trust's assets would be available to the group or groups that assume the Humane Society's work of caring for about 12,000 surrendered, abandoned or stray pets each year.

At issue is the $3.4 million Mary Powell Crume Trust, which has helped fund the Humane Society since the 1920s.

Officials for the society, which is the sole trustee, have asked a Marion County Probate Court judge for permission to pledge up to 90 percent of the trust to obtain a $1.7 million line of credit. The society plans to repay the debt by 2010, said Bolick and Executive Director Martha Boden.

Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter might agree to such a plan if it were approved by an independent, court-appointed trustee, said his spokeswoman, Sarah Rittman.

Humane Society attorney Alan J. Irvin said Friday that the group might agree to such a restriction, depending on whom was appointed co-trustee. Judge Charles J. Deiter scheduled a conference on the issue for July 20.

Veronica Jarnagin, an attorney for one of the other animal welfare groups, said they had proposed instead that the Humane Society sell some of its other properties to the trust to get the cash it needs.

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