published Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Bradley County, Tenn., may lose seats on Cleveland Animal Shelter Board

A kitten clings to a cage at the Cleveland Animal Shelter.
A kitten clings to a cage at the Cleveland Animal Shelter.
Photo by Angela Lewis.
  • photo
    Cleveland, Tennessee, Mayor Tom Rowland speaks in this file photo.
    Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley County is on its way to losing representation on the Cleveland Animal Shelter Board, part of the aftermath of the failure of the county and city to reach an agreement on shelter services and expenses.

The Cleveland City Council recently voted 7-0 on a resolution that would eliminate two county appointees from the seven-member board "during any period of time when a contract for animal control services does not exist between the City of Cleveland and Bradley County."

"Let the minutes show that should the county re-enter a contract with us, that we certainly would be willing to consider expanding the shelter board and considering their appointees and continue to be as generous as we have in the past," Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said.

The Cleveland City Council will vote on the final passage of the measure July 22.

Positions for county appointees to the board now are vacant because of expired terms, and the Bradley County Commission has suspended the appointee selection processes, said Lorri Moultrie, administrative assistant to the commission.

The central issue surrounding the lack of an animal control agreement is that Bradley County residents living outside Cleveland city limits have not been able to drop off animals at the Cleveland Animal Shelter, nor have they been able to request animal pickup services from the shelter, since July 1.

No alternatives have been announced by the Bradley County Commission for handling stray cats and dogs or reports of animal cruelty.

The animal control situation is expected to increase calls and costs for the Bradley County Sheriff's Office, spokesman Bob Gault said in an emailed statement.

"The Bradley County Sheriff's Office will continue responding to animal control calls that require a deputy to be present," Gault said. "In situations involving a vicious animal our first priority will the safety of residents."

Enforcement, Gault said, revolves around issuing citations.

No provision now exists for county law enforcement to use the Cleveland Animal Shelter.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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