Brewton animal shelter future still uncertain

Published 8:23 pm Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Even as the City of Brewton plans to resurrect their own animal control services, the municipality of Atmore is working out a plan that may have their animal control and sheltering problems solved

The City of Atmore is hoping to finalize and agreement that will couple the city and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in an effort to handle animal control duties formerly being under the control of the Humane Society of Escambia County.

Brewton has decided to release HSEC from their duties for the city and have issued a deadline of Jan. 1, 2012 for the group to vacate the city-owned facility the group currently uses for sheltering purposes.

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Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said the process to finalize an agreement with PCI is under way, but all of the questions concerning how the new management will function have not yet been answered.

“We’ve talked with Poarch and they have agreed to work with us on animal control,” Shell said. “They’ve got the same situation. They’ve got a problem and we’ve got one and we figured we could work together on it and provide better service on this end of the county than we could if we were doing it by ourselves.”

Although plans are not finalized, Shell said former Atmore Animal Shelter employee Suzanne Sirmon has been tapped for the animal control officer position of the soon-to-be formed institution.

“Suzanne has been in that position before and has worked with a veterinarian,” Shell said. “She knows what the rules and regulations will be, so we feel very comfortable with it.”

Shell said once the organization is in place, it will serve many of the same functions the HSEC performed before pulling out of the city.

“We’ll do whatever is necessary to get (the animals) picked up and cleaned up,” he said. “We’ll have adoptions for people who would like to adopt them.”

Another important aspect of creating the new shelter will be staffing. While the new location has already been identified as the former shelter site on Cindebrand Road, Shell said how many people will be hired to staff the new group, and who will be chosen, will be up to Sirmon.

“All of that will come together once she’s on board,” Shell said, adding a liaison from the tribe will also work with Sirmon to make the decisions.

Shell said things are coming together, but both Atmore and PCI are working diligently, rather than quickly, to ensure things are done right.

“Right now it’s in its formulation stage, he said. “We’re trying to get everything worked out now. As soon as we get the details worked out then will put them to work.”