New animal shelter board delves into future

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Consider it an official new beginning for the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter.
Members of the newly-created Animal Shelter Board met Tuesday evening inside City Hall to elect officers and delve into what’s ahead for the shelter.
“This will be the board that oversees the shelter,” Buford Peters, county liaison for the shelter and board member, said at the start of the meeting. “We all have some authority; we’re all in this together.”
Representatives of the Animal Shelter Board are comprised of city government (Wes Frazier, Kim Birchfield and Sam Shipley), county government (Peters, Sonja Culler and Kelly Collins) and county resident Mike Barnett.
The new board will serve as the full oversight of the shelter moving forward, with the Advisory and Transition Boards ceasing to exist.
During the election of officers, Barnett received unanimous support from the board to serve as chairman, with a motion made by Shipley. Peters was named vice-chair of the board while shelter director Shannon Posada, a non-voting member of the board, will serve as the secretary.
Officials wasted no time going into issues with Peters alluding to the fact that animal control will see some reinforcements following the Carter County Commission’s recent approval to fund the Carter County Sheriff’s Office to train three members to become animal control officers. When describing the new measure, Peters said, reportedly from Sheriff Dexter Lunceford, that it takes 30 days to provide training. Once officers are deemed animal control-certified, officers will then be able to take to the streets and handle calls deemed necessary. An officer will be on call 24/7.
The status of the investigative audit was also brought up again during the meeting with Barnett explaining that a decision could be coming down the pipeline soon with the last report stating the audit was in a “review phase.”
While the audit awaits a final confirmation, Barnett added that volunteers, fosters, and rescues are looking to get the green light again at the facility and is encouraging the public to attend Thursday’s Friends of the Animal Shelter meeting, set for 6 p.m. at City Hall, to gather a list together for potential individuals. Before implementing programs, Barnett reiterated that a vetting process would take place with a coordinator to assist Posada when selecting people to help.
Other notable changes from the meeting included the board’s decision to suspend spay/neuter trips to Lincoln Memorial University, for the time-being, to explore alternatives in the region with costs of travel, an animal’s stress levels on two-hour trips being brought up. The board alluded to the fact that didn’t want to permanently stop LMU trips, but rather get everything situated with a new transition before continuing the partnership. The board also voted to set a limit of 80 cats and 30 dogs at the shelter, at the discretion of staff, to have a proper limit in place. A change in hold time was also brought up with the board voting to change the 10-day hold to seven business days, at the desecration of shelter staff. The possibility of a return-to-owner charge will also be looked at in the coming weeks.
In regards to animals at the shelter, Posada said the shelter uses to help showcase the inventory of animals inside the facility. Citizens that are unable to make it to the shelter during regular business hours can visit the website.

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