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CLEVELAND TURNS THUMBS DOWN TO RENEWED COUNTY OFFER ON ANIMAL SHELTER

Posted by Rita Fisher on June 28, 2013 at 11:50 PM
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - by Gail Perry

“You’ve just issued a death warrant,” Councilman Richard Banks told the Cleveland City Council members Wednesday afternoon. His proposal to give Bradley County one more chance to partner with the city of Cleveland in their efforts to have a no-kill animal shelter died for the lack of a second to the motion.

Councilman Banks tried to convince the other members of the council to extend an offer to the county for 30 days to let them hire someone, train them and get equipment and vehicles designated to pick up stray animals that are found in the county outside of Cleveland’s city limits. He  encouraged the council to reject the proposal previously submitted by Bradley County Commissioners that would provide some funding for the shelter, but no way to pick up animals. In that offer, it would be left to individual citizens to bring strays to the shelter. He said some people would be unable to do that, but that most people would just not take the time.

Mayor Tom Rowland stated that Cleveland officials are concerned about all the citizens of the county and that includes animals. In the month of May, said Councilman Banks, the animal shelter rescued 178 animals and succeeded in finding homes for 197. This number will go down, he said, because stray animals in the county will not be brought to the shelter to be given a chance. The shelter will not take them in because there is no contract in place between the city and county. Of the animals picked up in May, 135 came from outside the city limits.

After discussion of the Banks proposal, Vice Mayor Avery Johnson seconded the motion, Councilman Bill Estes said, “We’ve done our job - we’ve tried for months” to get cooperation from Bradley County. “Let’s cut bait and let them handle their own problems,” he said. 

“We need to be concerned with the animals,” Mayor Rowland told the council. 

During the 30-day period waiting for the county to organize a plan, who would pay for that? asked Councilman Estes. 

That’s a good point, said Vice Mayor Johnson, which prompted him to withdraw his second. It makes a good point except for the welfare of the animals, said Councilman Banks. Commissioner George Poe added that the problem is that everything the city has tried to do in conjunction with the county has resulted in no cooperation.

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