After much discussion, the Bradley County Commission on Monday voted to enter into a 2-year contract with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Bradley County. For $80,000 per year, the SPCA will operate an animal care facility and provide animal control services to residents of the county.
Residents of Bradley County outside of Cleveland have had limited access to animal control services, officials said.
The county is currently in a six-month contract with the Cleveland Animal Center. County Mayor Gary Davis said the operation of the Cleveland Animal Center "is basically by the police department," and that animal lovers will be "better fitted to operate the center."
Another organization, the Ark of Cleveland, made a bid for the contract, but they requested $240,000 per year.
However, some commissioners were still concerned. Commissioner Jeff Yarber said, “This is quite a quagmire for me.” He said he feared the SPCA would need more money as time went on and that they would not be able to accomplish their goals in the set timeframe. He suggested waiting six months.
Vice Chairman Adam Lowe said he had looked at the numbers and did not see what putting it off would accomplish. He noted that the SPCA of Bradley County was a pilot program and adjustments would have to be made as time progressed.
Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones said, “Time is of the essence.” She told the Commission, “They’ve been doing this for years at the animal shelter. I’m all for privatizing and going with non-profits.” She said, “The longer we wait on this, the more it’s going to hurt and hinder the SPCA from working and writing grants.”
She also pointed out this would be the best way to help the animals.
The SPCA operates under a “No Kill Equation” model. This model works to save animal lives through a strong animal adoption program, spay/neuter programs, and active community involvement, it was stated.
Several other resolutions were passed during the meeting.
Resolution 2013-61 passed and will allow the Commission to change and update the current occupational health and safety program plan.
Resolution 2013-62 will now authorize the Bradley County Mayor to enter into a lease agreement with the United States Post Office for a 5-year term.
Commissioner Connie Wilson also made a motion for Gary Stonecipher to be reappointed for another term on the Beer Board; this passed unanimously.