New organization formed to assist with animals

Published 9:59 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Star Photo/Curtis Carden
Elizabethton/Carter County Advisory Board Chairman Mike Barnett (left) talks with Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey during Tuesday’s meeting.


With budget talks around the bend, Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey presented the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Advisory Board with the proposed animal shelter operations’ budget for 2017-18 during Tuesday’s meeting.
The proposal for 17-18 features a $195,556.59 increase from the previous budget ($208,919.92 to $404,476.51) and Humphrey encouraged attendees to contact the county and city representatives to show support to help the measure get passed.
While adding it was still one of the least funded shelters in the state, comparable to Greene County, the mayor added that individuals should stop by the facility and see the work that current director Shannon Posada and the staff has accomplished.
“The staff has done a tremendous job at the shelter,” he said. “If we come up short of this (proposed budget), we’re putting the animals in danger.”
Currently, the price tag for shelter operations is split between the city and county, but both parties are ratifying the  previous agreement after City Council made the motion last month to do so.
One idea being pursued by the county is looking at utilizing two officers from the Carter County Sheriff’s Office to assist with animal control. During the meeting, it was stated that over 1,200 calls went through the communications center alone last year. Posada added the number doesn’t show the amount of calls that also come through the shelter, too.
While talks are underway with Sheriff Dexter Lunceford, Humphrey added the ability to have the extra assistance would be a benefit to the shelter.
Humphrey added during the meeting that current expansion at the shelter is currently on track and the van, purchased by the estate of Glenda DeLawder, is currently in Knoxville undergoing conversion.
“I know we’ve been criticized for the use of the estate,” Humphrey said. “We have immediate needs now, and it’s the estate that outlined the way to money would be utilized, $500,000 for capital improvements and $40,000 for the purchase of a vehicle and that’s what passed through County Commission.”
The van will be outfitted to allow up to 20-plus animals to take part in partnership with Lincoln Memorial University to spay and neuter age-appropriate animals before adoption.
On the topic of spay and neuter, the mayor also brought up the subject of a colony of feral cats being brought to the attention of the county. Along with representatives of Brother Wolf, which is working to be involved with the animal shelter following the Tennessee Comptroller’s’ investigative audit and will be present during March’s County Commission meeting, the shelter has been on the site of the colony to work on coming up with a solution.
Following the mayor’s request, the Friends of the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter approved a measure to use $2,500 to help spay the cats at the colony.
Humphrey also added that the Posada is working on bylaws and procedures at the facility, going along with ASPCA protocols and information from CTAS.
During the Friends of the Animal Shelter meeting, Barnett recognized Robin McKamey and provided an introduction to Appalachian Tails, an organization recently created that is looking to assist with animals in the region by providing foster care and fundraising opportunities for interested individuals.
Barnett stated that following talks with McKamey that the organization would be a great asset for those in the community looking to take part in foster programs and assist with animals when needed. The group would be endorsed by the Friends group and not by the shelter, Barnett added.
McKamey addressed attendees and said the recently formed group has already created a board and has citizens in place and are welcoming those within the county looking to assist with animals in the county.
Along with raising money for sponsorships of animals, McKamey added the group work would alongside East Tennessee Spay and Neuter and go through the process of screening homes to allow individuals to foster animals.
While the organization’s intentions were favorable to those in attendance, the motion to have Appalachian Tails as a subcommittee to fall under the group’s 501(c) status to help with animals and pursue grant funding was unable to pass due to a quorum not being present.
Members not present for the entirety of both meetings included John Bland, due to medical reasons, and Cody McQueen. During the Friends meeting, White and Humphrey both were unable to stay.
The vote is expected to take place during the next meeting, scheduled for March 28, inside the courthouse at 5:30 p.m.
Individuals looking to assist through Appalachian Tails can contact McKamey via email at or call (423) 957-0243.
“We want to help with fosters, sponsorships, fundraising,” she said. “We know this is an urgent need. It isn’t about the publicity; it’s about the animals.”
Along with the work ahead, Appalachian Tails has also been in contact with Brother Wolf, which reportedly has positive reviews on the group and its mission within the county. But while Brother Wolf will take some time to set up its operation following the audit, McKamey said Appalachian Tails gives a direct outlet for individuals looking to get involved now.

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