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Animal Control Board planning workshop to discuss spay/neuter ordinance

Zach Vance • Jan 7, 2019 at 9:33 PM

With the animal shelter’s population and financials now stable, the Washington County-Johnson City Animal Control Board is looking at proactive methods of reducing the number of abandoned animals in the county, especially considering the spring mating season is a few months away. 

At Monday’s meeting, Animal Control Board President and Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock said the board plans to convene on Jan. 18 for a public workshop to discuss implementing spay and neuter ordinances in the county and city. 

“Our big thing is, on the front end, to try to get people to be more responsible with their animals,” Brock said. 

“We’ve had a task force that’s been working for a number of months researching other communities that have these (ordinances). So we’ll be working with that, rolling our sleeves up to see what we adopt. Then from there, we’ll have to take it to the city and county (commissions). At the same time, we’re going to talk about the $1 million it takes to take care of people’s abandoned pets.” 

Director Tammy Davis also said the shelter will participate in a Feb. 9 event where other regional shelters and nonprofit rescue groups will raise funds for a region-wide, low-cost spay-and-neuter event for cats and dogs. 

That fundraiser, hosted by Neonatal Kitten Rescue and Corey Ippoleto Winery, is called Drinkin’ Wine & Feline Fine. It will start at 10 a.m. at the Corey Ippoleto Winery in Blountville. 

“This is our first year so it’s kind of getting put together, but everybody involved is go-getters. We’re hoping it will make a little bit of an impact, but as it gets better, we’re also working to start a network of kitten fosters. We’re trying to be very proactive,” Davis said. 

To coincide with those two events, Brock suggested the animal shelter and city launch a public campaign through print and television outlets to educate the county’s residents on the importance of spay and neuter. 

As it relates to operations, the animal shelter ended December 2018 with 518 animals, or 98 fewer animals than it started the month with. During the month, the shelter adopted out 289 animals and euthanized 37 animals who were sick, aggressive or requested by owner.

“I want to commend you on this,” Assistant City Manager Bob Wilson, who serves on the board, told Davis during the meeting. “That’s good, and I hope that it continues.” 

However, even with a population of 518 animals in the shelter to start January, Wilson believes that figure is still higher than the shelter’s true occupancy rate. 

“That’s what’s driving up our cost, and you know, 98 fewer animals I think is great. I still think, in my opinion, we’re still beyond the capacity of the shelter. I think the Board, we need to set whatever that number is, and I’m not saying what it should be, I don’t know,” Wilson said. 

“My concern in bringing this up is we’ve got about two more months, three months maybe to get this number down and then we get into the spring, (which is) mating season and all that ... So that’s my concern is (the population) is going to be right back up where we were and have the same exact problems as before.” 

On the financial side, the shelter collected $58,247 in donations and fundraisers in December, $6,926 more than it raised in December 2017. Total revenues for the shelter totaled $106,643 in December, but year-to-date revenues were $11,884 less than the same point as the previous fiscal year. 

Total expenses for December 2018 totaled $74,062, with the shelter’s net income equalling $32,581. 

“It’s stabilized for sure. We’re moving in the right direction. The community has really come together and supported (the shelter). This Christmas has just been wonderful time for them to come help us,” Brock said. 

“I think the best the Animal Control Board can do is appropriately conclude what the cost of running this shelter is. Then, in earnest, we sit down with the County Commission and City Commission. We know we can’t run this by appropriations alone. It takes fundraising. So we’re getting all the pieces right together and working more functionally.”

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