City ups funds for dogs

Published 4:52 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In anticipation of taking over animal control for the City of Brewton next month, city council members approved a request to appropriate additional funds on an as-needed basis for the program.
Councilman Dennis Dunaway, a member of the committee assigned to study the feasibility of the program, said the funds requested would be in addition to the balance of funds set aside for animal control purposes.
“We have $39,600 in the budget at the present time and are asking for the additional funds to be used in piecemeal fashion for the rest of the fiscal year,” Dunaway said. “We are asking for the council to appropriate $100,000 for animal control. The money would come from the gas department and only be used on an as-needed basis.”
Dunaway told the council employees for animal control are already being put into place.
“We have interviewed two people to help run the program,” Dunaway said. “They are waiting on their physicals. They have experience in animal control, some of it with the Humane Society. We also have two people who will be moved from the street department to run the program. Our goal is to have each person certified in animal control through the Alabama Humane Society and be certified for all aspects of the program.”
Brewton Mayor Ted Jennings asked about the condition of the facility, currently occupied by the Humane Society of Escambia County.
“Under the lease agreement, the building has got to be returned to us in the condition it was handed over to them,” Jennings said.
Dunaway and City Clerk John Angel said a complete view of building condition and equipment possession would not be possible until the HSEC had vacated the building.
“We won’t be able to do a complete assessment until after Jan. 3 when we can get into the building,” Dunaway said. “Once we have that assessment we will know where we stand.”
Dunaway said some funds will be required to make any equipment purchases necessary to bring the facility into good working order for use by the City of Brewton.
“We are going to have to purchase a good bit of equipment to get things going,” Dunaway said. “We expect to be able to begin animal intakes about two weeks after we get into the building. That should give us time to get equipment in place, computers going and ready for animals.”
Jennings asked if the committee had an opportunity to speak with HSEC officials to discuss the condition of the building and what equipment would remain at the facility.
“I know we have reached out to the Humane Society on numerous occasions, but they have not responded,” Jennings said. “We have tried to have conversations with them over the years without success.”
Dunaway said the committee had asked to have a dialog with HSEC officials, but those requests have not been answered.
“We have certainly tried to have discussions with them, but we have not heard back from them,” Dunaway said.
“I guess we’ve brought Washington, D.C., to Brewton — nobody’s talking to anybody,” Jennings said.
Dunaway said the committee and the council would still be willing to speak with HSEC officials.
“We are still willing to reach out,” Dunaway said. “But, so far, we have not heard from them at all.”
Dunaway said the intent of the city’s animal control program is just that — animal control.
“We don’t want to take over the Humane Society’s job at all,” Dunaway said. “We just want to take care of our animal control. We have even told them we would be happy for them to take any of the animals we receive and adopt them out. So far, we haven’t had a response from them on that.”
Dunaway said the hours of the shelter operation have not been determined, but the work of the city’s animal control and sheltering program would carry on in a fashion seen in the community over the years.
“We will be adopting out the animals we receive,” Dunaway said. “Just as has been done in the past. Our intent is to save as many animals as possible. We know we can’t save them all, but we want to be a humane shelter — not a killing shelter.”
Dunaway said a plan to have Saturday morning adoption hours is in the plan for the program.
In Atmore, the Humane Society of Escambia County has also been relieved on animal control and sheltering duties for the city there.
On Monday, a ribbon cutting was held for the Clifford and Margaret J. Smith Animal Shelter — a shelter to be operated by the government of the City of Atmore and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.