Bradley County considers animal shelter proposals

Bradley County considers animal shelter proposals

September 19th, 2013 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

Bradley County Commission Chairman Louie Alford, left, and Bob Caylor, president of The Ark of Cleveland, discuss the nonprofit organization's ability to assume animal control services for county.

Photo by Paul Leach/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Bradley County officials want more information from two nonprofit animal welfare organizations seeking to provide long-term animal shelter services for the county.

County residents living outside the Cleveland city limits will have full animal pickup and drop-off services through the Cleveland Animal Shelter for the next six months under a temporary, $120,000 agreement between the county and city.

An ad hoc committee appointed this week to make a recommendation to the County Commission on the issue reviewed presentations Wednesday from The Ark of Cleveland and the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Bradley County. Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones is chairwoman of the panel that includes Commissioners Bill Winters, Adam Lowe, Ed Elkins and Mark Hall.

"I think there's promise in some of these organizations, but specifically, we need to see an operational plan," Lowe said.

In the meantime, Lowe said neither organization communicated more than its hopes to accomplish its goals, which include sheltering at no charge all animals brought in by Bradley County residents during normal business hours and providing 24-hour emergency animal retrieval.

The SPCA of Bradley County has requested an $80,000 annual donation from the county to operate an animal shelter, but would need more funding in the form of grants and private donations, said Betti Gravelle, the group's president.

The Ark of Cleveland requested a $240,000 annual donation from the county, based on the $20,000 monthly fee that the county now is paying the Cleveland Animal Shelter, attorney Doug Blackwell said on behalf of that organization.

That amount is not set in stone, but rather serves as a starting point, said Bob Caylor, president of the The Ark of Cleveland.

Caylor said The Ark had opened discussions with the Cleveland Animal Shelter about the possibility of contracting animal pickup services through them.

SPCA would train its own animal control officers, Gravelle said.

Both nonprofit organizations expressed interest in leasing and renovating a county garage located on Johnson Boulevard, next to the Bradley County Juvenile Courts Center.

According to Gravelle, the SPCA has received estimates from two contractors that they could get the necessary remodeling done within three months for $40,000.

Caylor said The Ark has not has a chance to arrange an on-site visit with any contractors.

The animal control services committee will meet again Monday at the Bradley County Courthouse.

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