Bradley County SPCA Board Adopts New Model In Response To Recent Closing Of Shelter

Monday, July 28, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

The Bradley County SPCA Board voted on Monday night to adopt a model developed by Betti Gravelle for the next 30 days in response to Director Bobbi Anderson's recent closing of the shelter. 

Ms. Anderson closed the shelter to all new animals over the weekend, saying it was over capacity and that there was no way to take care of the animals currently there if more were brought in. She also said she wanted to renegotiate the contract signed between the county and the SPCA, which says that the shelter cannot turn away animals. 

Ms. Anderson has recently made remarks stating that is nearly impossible within the confines of the budget. 

Ms. Anderson and other members suggested coming up with a capacity to vote on at the next meeting.

However, Board Chair Betti Gravelle made a motion for Ms. Anderson's dismissal, saying "When we set capacity...we become a kill shelter." 

She said, "I make a motion tonight for Bobby's dismissal," and that the shelter needed "someone who will not decide that the solution is to kill the animals of Bradley County."

However, County Commissioner Mark Hall and other board members suggested waiting at least a month before dismissing anyone and the motion did not go through. 

Ms. Gravelle said, "The problem is that they're taking care of 145 animals instead of 50 animals." She said they needed to focus on getting animals moving, through adoptions and relocation to other rescue shelters. 

Ms. Anderson previously expressed concern that, without the proper paperwork, there was no way to make sure the animals would not end up at a puppy mill.

Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones made a motion that the shelter abide exactly by Ms. Gravelle's program for a month.  

She said, "The county is not mandated to provide an animal shelter or animal control actually...If we can't get along and this dissolves, there may be no animal shelter."

Ms. Gravelle asked specifically for four things to be done. She said from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, a staff member needed to come in and take pictures of all of the animals that were brought in. 

Next, she asked for documentation for what animals were brought in and what animals were taken out. 

Third, she asked that they collect points of contact for each animal brought in so that they would have information such as if the animal is feral or not. 

Last, she asked for potential adopters to have the ability to let someone else fill out the paperwork for the animal they wanted. She said some people could not come by during the hours of the shelter. 

Commissioner Peak-Jones said, "Just to clarify, the board will make a decision and the director will follow what the board decides."

Ms. Anderson told the board, "We are doing the best that we can."

During the meeting, the room was filled with supporters of either Ms. Anderson or Ms. Gravelle, sitting on opposite sides of the room.

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