Bradley County to review animal services proposals

Bradley County to review animal services proposals

September 17th, 2013 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

Senior animal control officer David Creasman leads a hound dog into a kennel at the Cleveland Animal Control Shelter in Cleveland, Tenn. A five-member committee made up of two Cleveland City Council members, two Bradley County commissioners, and animal rescue worker Rachel Veazey is being formed to address providing animal control services to county residents.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Bradley County officials are considering a pair of proposals submitted by nonprofit animal welfare organizations as they look for a possible solution to the community's long-term animal control service needs.

Animal control services were limited to Cleveland residents between July 1 and Sept. 9 after the Bradley County Commission and the Cleveland City Council failed to reach an agreement on the county's portion of the Cleveland Animal Shelter budget. Both bodies recently agreed to a six-month measure that will cost the county $120,000 to ensure pick-up and drop-off services for animals originating outside city limits.

On Monday, the Bradley County Commission voted 12-0 to create a committee to research "the merit and feasibility" of animal shelter operation proposals submitted by The Ark of Cleveland and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Bradley County.

Commission Chairman Louie Alford appointed Commissioner Ed Elkins as chairman of the panel, which includes Commissioners Adam Lowe, Charlotte Peak-Jones, Bill Winters and Mark Hall.

"With these proposals, you're doing it the way it should be done," Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis told county commissioners. "You're letting the people that really care about this issue be the ones that handle and take care of the issue."

A private sector solution to the animal control problem is preferable to one handled by the government, Davis said.

Commissioner Jeff Yarber voiced concern that the creation of a county animal shelter "reinvents the wheel," since Cleveland already operates a shelter and has provided services for the county for many years.

Davis said that he hoped that Cleveland would one day join the county in its effort to support a nonprofit solution to animal control problems.

The Ark and SPCA of Bradley County each proposed to lease and renovate a county garage facility located on Johnson Boulevard, next to the Bradley County Juvenile Courts Center.

The Ark proposed to seek two bids for renovation of the structure and present them to the county for approval and payment. The SPCA of Bradley County requested $40,000 for the remodeling project.

Both organizations requested annual donations from the county to offset operating costs. The Ark requested $240,000 per year for operating expenses, which would be subject to cost-of-living increases. The SPCA requested $80,000 per year to assist with operational costs.

Concerning the shelter's proposed location, Yarber said he had received a petition from 35 residents stating that they did not want the animal shelter near them.

The ad hoc committee will meet Wednesday to review the animal shelter proposals.

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