The SPCA board of directors voted to formally adopt the policy which will refuse any animals brought to the organization’s adoption center by any organized group.
It was a move done to lay down a marker of sorts that should the city of Cleveland want to bring dogs and cats to the shelter, it will have to negotiate with the SPCA and have a contract like Bradley County has in place.
The county currently contracts with the SPCA for the amount of $80,000 per year.
The Cleveland City Council had planned to vote on a resolution to close the city’s animal shelter but keep the city’s animal control to pick up animals.
That meeting on May 12 was attended by Betti Gravelle, SPCA board president, who expressed concerns at the time the limited staff of the SPCA shelter would probably not be able to handle the sudden increase in animals.
Within the last month, the SPCA has accepted 98 dogs and adopted 85. There were 78 cats brought in and more than 60 have been dispersed.
SPCA Board Member and County Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones reinforced the organization’s policy at its board meeting Monday night.
That policy reads: “The SPCA only takes surrendered animals from individual residents of Bradley County. We will not take animals from other groups, organizations or governmental agencies unless they have a negotiated contract with the SPCA.”
“The city is in the county so we have not actually looked at licenses and said, ‘You’re in the city so we can’t take it.’ She added the shelter is taking animals from individual Cleveland residents because those individuals are paying county taxes.
Peak-Jones said the Cleveland City Council at its meeting “pretty much ignored our policy.”
“But, the SPCA is a nonprofit organization that sets its own policies and decides where we take our animals from. The city cannot tell us we have to take their [animals]. Their control guys go out and round them up, and want to dump them at our facility.”
She said the city animal control cannot be considered “an individual” as the SPCA acceptance policy states.
“It may be an individual driver. It’s a city-paid vehicle. It’s a city-paid organization that is going around getting these animals,” Peak-Jones said.
She said the SPCA should keep the policy exactly as it stands.
“If these groups want to come to the board, then we can sit down and negotiate,” Peak-Jones said. “But until then, if the city chooses to shut down their animal facility and keep their animal control they can. But they’re not dumping them at our nonprofit organization.”