SPCA board votes to reset rescue networking attempts for Bradley County no-­kill shelter

SPCA board votes to reset rescue networking attempts for Bradley County no-­kill shelter

July 29th, 2014 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

Shelter director Bobbi Anderson discusses concerns regarding overcrowding and volunteer procedures at the SPCA no-kill animal facility.

Photo by Paul Leach/Times Free Press.

Lucky, a pit bull mix, receives love and attention from Carlos Wagner, a regular volunteer at the shelter operated by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Bradley County.

Photo by Paul Leach/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Bradley County wants to reset rescue networking attempts for its no-­kill shelter and heal divisions within the organization.

On Monday, the SPCA board voted 4­-1 to allow volunteers associated with Cleveland for a No Kill City another attempt at moving animals out of the shelter. Treasurer Jack Burke voted against the measure.

"They don't take the animals, they network the animals," said Gravelle of No­ Kill volunteers, who she described as the "army" that formed the bedrock of her original plan for the shelter.

To be successful, No ­Kill photographers need access to the shelter animals in the afternoon during the week, said Gravelle.

The shelter will also need to provide daily intake and outtake numbers, and two shelter points of contact need to be established, she said.

Board members asserted that No ­Kill volunteers would need to fill out any necessary paperwork for removing animals.

Burke and shelter director Bobbi Anderson both complained that the facility had encountered problems with No Kill personnel removing animals without proper documentation.

"I voted against the measure to allow them [No ­Kill volunteers] to try it again, because it won't work," said Burke after the meeting. "They could not do it right for the last six months."

The compromise of sorts was reached after a failed attempt by Gravelle to have Anderson dismissed because she put up a "roadblock" to No­ Kill rescue networking attempts, resulting in overcrowding.

Instead, the board voted 3­-2 to support a recommendation made by Bradley County Commissioner Mark Hall, a county representative on the board, to wait 30 days before considering a dismissal.

Commissioner Charlotte Peak­-Jones and Burke supported the measure, while Gravelle and board member Dr. Michael Guedron opposed it.

The recommendation was made in an effort "exhaust every opportunity" to serve the best interests of the county and the board and to avoid a "knee-­jerk reaction," said Hall.

In other business, the board agreed to address capacity for the shelter at its Aug. 18 meeting.

The no­kill facility currently houses over 120 animals, which is too much for the small staff and volunteers who operate the shelter, said Anderson. Half that number would be realistic considering the shelter's means, she said.

Anderson publicly declared the shelter closed for intake on Friday in violation of SPCA's $80,000 annual agreement with Bradley County. The agreement requires the facility to accept animals from all county residents.

Facility capacity was not addressed in the plans submitted to Bradley County.

The operation needs more money for staff and supplies to properly care for its animals, said Anderson.

The issue is not one of money, but one of networking through No­Kill volunteers, said Gravelle.

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