Cities seek shelter ideas

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, May 25, 2011

City and county officials continue to look at options to maintain animal shelters in Escambia County.

City officials and representatives for Brewton, East Brewton, Atmore, Flomaton and Escambia County met in Atmore late last week to discuss options in keeping animal control and animal shelters working for area residents.

The meeting came on the heels of the announcement by the Humane Society of Escambia County that their services, including sheltering animals and animal control for municipalities, would cease on May 31, with county services ending June 30.

County Commission Chairman David Stokes said the discussion ended with each city hoping for a solution to animal control and sheltering.

“We all agreed that we want to make this thing work,” Stokes said. “I think from a money standpoint that the Humane Society can run if we work together.”

Stokes and Humane Society board president Joe Thomas were joined at the meeting by Atmore Mayor Howard Shell, Atmore Public Safety Director Glenn Carlee, County Administrator Tony Sanks with John Angel representing the City of Brewton, Lawton Shipp representing the City of East Brewton and Jim Johnson representing the City of Flomaton.

Thomas said proposals from all parties will be presented to see if some form of service by Humane Society can continue.

“We are going to get some proposals together to see what we can work out,” Thomas said. “There is no guarantee that the service will fall back under the Humane Society. We’ll just have to see what can be done.”

Thomas said the current funding of $147,000 isn’t enough to continue the kind of service and facilities operation currently provided by Humane Society.

“We’ll have a budget of $147,000 since the Neal Trust money has ended,” Thomas said. “I think every official understands that you can’t run even a bare-bones countywide animal control program on that. We’re going to look at several different proposals to try and work something out.”

Thomas said officials are planning to meet again next week to discuss proposals and possibilities for animal control services.

Currently, financial support to the Humane Society is provided by Escambia County Commission in the amount $60,000. The City of Atmore provides $48,000 in funding plus the use of a vehicle while the City of Brewton provides $38,000 in funding.

The Humane Society lost 60 percent of its annual funding — $300,000 — when the Neal Trust ended last year.