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This story was updated Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at 3:56 p.m. with more information.

Hamilton County commissioners on Wednesday reversed their decision to allow shelter dogs to visit the clerk and master's office in the Hamilton County Courthouse.

Last week, the commission approved a proposal to allow shelter dogs, up for adoption from the McKamey Animal Center and the Humane Educational Society, to visit the office in the hopes of showcasing them to potential adopters.

But in a 9-0 vote Wednesday, the commission reversed that decision after employees of the office expressed concerns about allergies.

Anne Fricker, chief probate deputy for the county, initially proposed the idea, citing her office's love for animals.

Commissioners debated the issue at length at their April 3 meeting, prompting District 2 Commissioner Chip Baker to say, "I'm interested that we are spending more time on this topic than the $27 million Harrison Bay Elementary."

The resolution passed despite some commissioners' concerns, but District 8 Commissioner Tim Boyd moved to vote again on it Wednesday.

Fricker defended the proposal and said employees of the office had been exposed to two service dogs this week.

"We were going to have one dog a week for a couple of hours," she said. "The people who are allergic to dogs are being exposed to these dogs already, so I don't see how it would be much different than keeping a dog and having it in our office."

District 3 Commissioner Greg Martin said he was against the idea.

"I don't know that it's in the county's best interest for us to be having animals that are not service animals here," he said, adding that he thought dogs in an office could limit the hiring pool in the future.

Martin did note that the commission was not saying it didn't like dogs, though.

District 6 Commissioner David Sharpe applauded Fricker's efforts to help find homes for rescued dogs.

"I applaud the effort and thought about how can we be productive with the Humane Society and assisting their adoption rates," he said. "I appreciate the effort."

Contact staff writer Meghan Mangrum at mmangrum@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.

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