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September 8, 2004

A hearing to decide whether the financially strapped Humane Society of Indianapolis can borrow against one of its trust funds was postponed Tuesday.

Marion County probate court Judge Charles Deiter reset the hearing for Oct. 14. The Humane Society wants to use its $3.2 million Mary Powell Crume Benevolent Public Trust as collateral for a $2.3 million loan.

Board President Brent Bolick said the loan would keep the organization afloat until 2006. By then, Bolick said, the group would have a balanced budget, thanks to cost-cutting and increased fund raising.

Five groups (Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana, Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership, Home for Friendless Animals, Southside Animal Shelter and Move to Act) and Crume descendant Norma Jean Balcom oppose the Humane Society's plan.

Their attorney, Veronica Jarnagin, said the society's board has mismanaged funds and wants to use trust money in ways the benefactor never intended.

Last week, Deiter ruled that the groups Jarnagin represents had no right to participate in the court hearings to determine whether the Humane Society can use the money from the Crume trust as collateral. Jarnagin said the groups may appeal.

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