Animal Control to return to community in January
Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Animal control in the Brewton community has been nonexistent for about six months after the Brewton Animal Shelter closed for renovations — except for the work of a local rescue, Paws Crossed.
But, a Monday agreement between city and county officials has put the hope for animal control and an operating animal shelter at the forefront for the community.
According to information from the Escambia County Commission, the agreement will see the re-opening of the animal shelter in mid-January serving county and city residents.
Escambia County Commissioners, Sheriff Heath Jackson and Brewton City officials agreed Monday to join forces to improve animal welfare in the county. After meetings negotiating the partnership and strategy, officials agreed to work together on the problem that impacts not only unwanted pets but also the health and welfare of people in the community.
Paws Crossed has taken in several dogs since the shelter closed. According to Edie Kelley, board member for the local rescue, the group shelter and all foster homes are — and have been — filled to capacity due to the city’s closure of the shelter.
The group continues to work on animal rescue throughout the area, but with limited resources and foster homes are scarce.
“Animal control is needed… that statement is undisputed,” Kelley said. “There are dogs that are truly strays and not everyone can take in every dog that shows up in their yard and they shouldn’t have to absorb that responsibility.”
Under the partnership which combines resources of the City of Brewton and Escambia County, in mid-January the county will open and operate the Escambia County Animal Shelter as prescribed by state law in the building owned and recently renovated by the City of Brewton.
“The law requires that the county provide an animal shelter,” said Escambia County Commission Chairman Raymond Wiggins, “and working with the city we plan to meet and exceed public expectation. It’s an issue of public health, and we are glad to have a partner in the effort.”
“The city has been working toward improving the building and facility for months with this goal in mind,” said Brewton Mayor Yank Lovelace. “By working with the Escambia County Commission, we can continue to see improvement in the shelter’s operation going forward. I am glad to have the county and Sheriff Jackson as partners in this as we share the same goals. I look forward to their leadership.”
Sheriff Jackson said he will supervise the shelter’s operations and work with the other partners to make it the best it can be.
“We always do our best work when we cooperate with each other, and this will be an effort we all can be proud of,” Jackson said.
Kelley said her group is excited about the coming changes for the area.
“We are so excited – you have no idea,” Kelley said Tuesday after the information was released. “We have a good working relationship with the sheriff already. We plan to help and support this move to make it a positive for our community.”
Kelley said the funding to make the work the group has already done has been provided by a generous community.
“The community as a whole has really stepped up to support us financially,” Kelley said. “We have a budget of about $140,000 annually. Right now, all of our bills are paid. We couldn’t do what we do without this community. It truly takes a village.”
The animal shelter will open in the building previously run by the city and is located on South Boulevard.