PUBLIC SERVICE COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
10 JANUARY 2022
Chairman Tracy Wilburn opened the meeting asking Tommy Pollard to offer a prayer and lead the pledge to the American flag. A motion to approve previous minutes of 15 October 2021 was made by Tommy Pollard and seconded by Duane Jones and was approved.
County Executive Melissa Greene asked that the County’s Animal Shelter Director Morgan Sutton provide an update on the recent month’s free adoption efforts and the way forward for the shelter. Morgan, who has just completed a 12 week training at the Police Academy, spoke on transparency being important, and uses social media as part of that transparency. She spoke of some unfavorable remarks on Facebook and mentioned the services, through the significant help of others, had stayed similar to before her training absence. She gave statistics on adoptions (6 in December) and mentioned that during the pandemic a lot of people wanted pets for company and comfort, but afterwards the adoptions, both here and in other counties, had significantly dropped. She discussed the use of other organizations, such as Rescue Organization or other shelters, but those too are overwhelmed with the numbers of animals. Duane Jones and Tommy Pollard moved that the adoption period be moved to the end of February.
Questions from the committee, and attending commissioners, were: how many dogs are there now and are they inside or outside (30 dogs, with 12 of those being outside); Fees? (Adoption – $85 with $50 returned on showing animal spayed or neutered; Euthanized – with veterinarian $80 – $90 although Morgan is State certified and can also euthanize the animals); after that discussion Stoney Jackson suggested it would be more cost beneficial to the county to have free adoptions all time; discussion about the incentive to spay or neuter still important; attending deputy name, Deputy Thomas.
Jennifer Riggen spoke of her interests in animal shelters and had discussed with Rene’ Segraves the Animal Control Officer in Lawrenceburg about their building of a new shelter. The cost of that building is planned at $380K while Giles County, per Melissa Greene, is currently estimated between $650K – $850K for a 2000 sq ft slab building. The difference in the two potential costs is typically a much higher bid when the offeror is a government offeror, rather than a non-profit organization. Questions on whether it might benefit Giles County to turn the operation over to a non-profit and various operating scenarios were discussed. For instance, could the currently budgeted $250K be provided to the non-profit for them to purchase a building, and the answer was yes, giving examples of how the Fire and Rescue is currently similarly funded. However, some of the challenges for such a scenario would be the 80 hours per week currently being used by the Director and the Deputy and how would that be for a non-profit who works only with volunteers, and that being somewhat perfunctory.
Sheriff Kyle Helton then described the workload which is considerable with the ultimate goal of adoption of the animals.
Another motion by Duane Jones, and seconded by Tommy Pollard, was made to extend the free adoption time period for an indefinite period of time. Motion approved.
Morgan gave additional information on receipts with that being $995 last month. She is looking at various veterinarians to discuss special rates. Erin Curry mentioned the recent death of actress Betty White and how many are using her birthday of 17 January to ask for donations since the actress was a strong animal rights activist. Morgan said she was also planning on doing that.
With no old business or anymore new business, Tommy moved for adjournment with Tim Risner seconding. Motion approved.