Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis said Monday there are two private groups interested in providing animal services out in the county.
He said he has issued a request for proposals in case any other groups want to put in a bid. The proposals are due Thursday.
County Mayor Davis said, "I am confident that one of the groups - if not both - will provide a good, cost-effective solution."
He added, "The people truly concerned about the situation will be the ones addressing the problem."
He said he agrees with Commission Vice Chairman Adam Lowe that "the private sector can operate the program better than the government."
The Bradley County Commission could act on the private proposal as soon as next Monday.
Bradley County was left without animal pickup out in the county after the city and county could not agree to terms on a continued agreement through Cleveland Animal Services.
In the meantime, a temporary solution was worked out at a meeting of an animal services ad hoc committee.
The Cleveland City Council voted unanimously on Monday afternoon to approve a resolution giving Bradley County a choice of a three-month contract at $25,000 per month or a six-month contract at $20,000 a month. Bradley County Commissioners have called a special meeting for Tuesday at 6 p.m. to vote on the issue.
Bradley County Commissioners are expected to move forward on the city contract, while continuing to work with a private group for a future solution.
Cleveland Animal Services will assign two officers to pick up stray animals out in the county.
Officials said the situation was highlighted when a little girl was bitten by a stray dog at Waterville School.
Commissioner Jeff Yarber said after the incident that officials "had no place to take the dog."
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said at a Monday agenda session he was surprised to see in the newspaper the county's request for proposals for animal services.
He said he wondered if that was an alternate plan on the temporary solution worked out by the ad hoc committee at its single one-hour meeting.
County officials said the city contract would provide a temporary fix to the "crisis."