Cleveland taking steps to become 'no-kill' city

Cleveland taking steps to become 'no-kill' city

August 14th, 2012 by Randall Higgins in News

Cleveland, Tenn., City Councilman Richard Banks takes a look at the Cleveland Animal Control Division's shelter Monday. The City Council took a field trip to the animal shelter between meetings where they heard steps are being taken towards becoming a "no-kill'' city and from some animal advocates who are raising concerns about that designation.

Photo by Randall Higgins/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Steps are being taken toward a "no kill city" here, the Cleveland City Council learned Monday.

Between meetings, the council toured the city animal shelter, which is the Animal Control Division of the Cleveland Police Department.

Beth Foster, speaking for the new "Cleveland for a No Kill City" group, said the council's previous action -- giving owner-surrendered pets at least 72 hours before euthanasia -- has saved over a hundred dogs and cats the past month. The extra time, rather than overnight euthanasia, gives pets a chance to find a permanent home, Foster said.

The group's goal is that Cleveland will be a no-kill city by 2017.

The Council viewed a new city website which includes photos of available pets at the animal shelter. The new site includes pet adoption information, pet regulations and other advice.

Animal Control officers support the cause, said Foster.

"They are heroes. They are out there saving animals now," Foster said.

No Kill can save the city money, Foster said, by attracting more volunteers for the shelter.

But some animal advocates see problems.

"If they can do it, that's fine," said Deanna Phillips of PALS (Pets Are Lovable Society).

But she and others want more screening for pet foster homes. Animals hurriedly taken to some foster homes may be sent to people unprepared to care for them, she said.

If untrained foster keepers are hurt, Phillips said, there could be lawsuits against the city.

No kill designations are being promoted across the U.S. by No Kill Nation, a nonprofit organization. The designation includes an adoption rate of 90 percent or more.

Contact Randall Higgins at rhiggins@timesfreepress.com or 423-314-1029.