published Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Red Bank looking to drop humane society for animal control


by Naomi Jagoda

The Humane Educational Society, once the leading provider of animal control services in Hamilton County, is in danger of losing another client, the fourth it has lost in six years.

Red Bank plans to switch its animal control service provider from the society to the McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Red Bank City Manager Chris Dorsey said the city hopes the switch results in more patrolling, faster response to calls and complaints and a more convenient place to drop off animals. The city wants to “get a little more bang for our buck,” he said.

McKamey, which already services Chattanooga, has agreed to provide services to Red Bank for about $63,000 a year, the same price Red Bank is paying the Humane Educational Society, Dorsey said.

At a meeting last week, the Red Bank Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution to allow the city to cancel its contract with the Humane Educational Society in the future.

Red Bank has not yet signed a contract with McKamey, Dorsey said, and the city hopes to accomplish the switch by Jan. 1.

Humane Educational Society Executive Director Guy Bilyeu said the facility patrols Red Bank every day and provides the city with quality services.

“We’ve learned how to best handle animal calls,” Bilyeu said. “[Red Bank has] a misunderstanding of what they’re getting for their buck now.”

Bilyeu said he hopes to meet with Red Bank representatives this week to discuss the matter.

In addition to Red Bank, the Humane Educational Society currently services unincorporated Hamilton County and several other municipalities in the area.

Bilyeu said he is not concerned about losing several municipalities, noting that the society is OK with receiving less money when it has fewer expenses.

McKamey Executive Director Karen Walsh thinks her center is suited to service Red Bank because the city is surrounded by Chattanooga.

“They’re right next door to us. We drive through Red Bank every day,” she said. “It’s a good fit.”

In the past several years, East Ridge, Chattanooga and Signal Mountain have all ceased using the Humane Educational Society. East Ridge reopened its own animal shelter in December 2005. Chattanooga left the Humane Society when McKamey opened in July 2008.

In April 2010, Signal Mountain started sending its vicious animals to facilities in Cleveland and Athens, said Town Manager Honna Rogers.

Signal Mountain police respond first to animal-related calls and keep nondangerous animals at a kennel at the police station, where they are usually found by their owners, said Signal Mountain Police Chief Boyd Veal.

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