The slogan speaks to the organization’s desire for Bradley County to be a “no-kill” animal control county.
SPCA member organizations encouraged those present to contact their Bradley County commissioner in support of SPCA being awarded the county animal control contract.
“I want to encourage you today to find your voice,” Betti Gravelle, SPCA president, said.
Bradley County commissioners were invited to attend.
“We want to recognize the County Commission. We want to thank them for stepping back from the contract that has been in place forever and looking at some different alternatives,” SPCA public information officer Beth Foster said.
Foster said she had expected three or four commissioners to be present for the rally. Commissioner Jeff Morelock was the only one who showed. Morelock said he was not a member of the ad hoc committee that will be making a recommendation to the full commission.
“My hope is the city and the county can get together on this animal control issue and award the contract to a qualified nonprofit organization that will take humane care of the animals and do it in a way that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to the taxpayers,” Morelock said.
He said he would like the governments to work together to have one nonprofit shelter for the entire community.
“It has been a long road,” Gravelle said of her work to better the treatment of animals in the Cleveland Animal Shelter.
When she first started trying to get animal shelter animals adopted through word of mouth and photos, she had little success.
“They were still killing 86 percent of animals,” Gravelle said.
Since the formation of Cleveland for a No-Kill City, the shelter has had a kill rate below 10 percent for the past 15 months, according to Gravelle.
Gravelle said despite the hard work of her and her colleagues, the animal shelter’s ideology has not changed.
She along with the SPCA hope to be given the chance to establish a truely “no-kill” animal shelter for the county.
“[It would be] where an animal can come in, it can be vaccinated, de-wormed,” Gravelle said, describing her wish for a SPCA shelter.
The SPCA of Bradley County was formed by Dixie Day Spay, Dixie Pet Underground (Railroad), Cleveland for a No Kill City, the Bradley Initiative to End Animal Suffering and the East Tennessee No Kill Coalition coming together.
“Despite being brand new, the SPCA is a collection of people with decades of experience addressing companion animal issues,” Foster said.
The Bradley County ad hoc committee will choose whether the Ark of Cleveland or SPCA is recommended as the nonprofit to run an animal shelter outside the city limits. This committee is not affiliated with the joint county and city ad hoc committee that has discussed the city joining with the county in its move to supporting a nonprofit running the shelter.
Neither the Bradley County Commission nor the Cleveland City Council has voted on a joint nonprofit shelter. The idea has not been formally discussed outside the joint ad hoc committee.