Various types of partnerships between the governments and a nonprofit the county will choose to provide animal shelter and animal control services outside the city have been discussed. One scenario would have The Ark of Cleveland running an animal shelter for county animals and Cleveland Animal Control providing animal pickup.
At-Large Councilman George Poe said during a meeting Tuesday that a private entity should never take over pickup and rescue to deal with sick or vicious animals.
“I think we have great animal control officers, and a great shelter as far as that goes. I wouldn’t want to do anything that would deprive our city residents of either of those services,” Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said. “I think accountability is important, and there is more accountability, I think, with our shelter.”
Vice Mayor Avery Johnson said all the animal pickup call logs from the contract period show there are more calls outside the city limits than within its borders.
“We had really gotten to where we were doing an excellent job at the animal shelter with trained people,” Johnson said.
The Council needs to keep what has worked in the past, Johnson said.
“I feel we can do a better, more effective job keeping it in house,” 4th District Councilman David May Jr. said
Second District Councilman Bill Estes said he would not be in favor of turning animal control over to an outside source. He said it hasn’t been proven that it could do a better job.
Fifth District Councilman Dale Hughes gave a summary of the progress of the county and city joint animal control committee during Tuesday’s Council meeting. The committee was formed after the Bradley County Commission decided it needed a quick short-term solution to animal control after the county did not renew an animal control contract this year. The county and city entered into a short-term agreement until the Commission could choose a nonprofit to partner with.
“We are hoping we can work with them to relieve some of the duties of the animal shelter,” Hughes said.
Hughes said the city has offered the county two options. One would be to negotiate a contract much like the governments had before. The other would use The Ark facility as the animal shelter and Cleveland Animal Control to deal with other issues.
“There is a possibility that when the temporary contract runs out in March, they will come back to us and ask can we extend that to the new budget year, which is July,” Hughes said.
Poe said he thought it would take more time for a private entity to be able to take over at the level of service the city animal control was providing.
Management of the animal shelter by a nonprofit has received some support.
“If you hit rewind, we had, I think in [both the] city and county, very effective animal control,” Banks said.
Banks spoke of the progress the city animal shelter had made toward being a no-kill shelter.
The councilman said he thought an animal shelter could be well run by a nonprofit.
“They are more passionate about it and would probably get better results,” Banks said.
He said it was nonprofit efforts that have helped Cleveland move toward having a no-kill shelter.
However, he reiterated he feels a government trained animal control entity was needed to respond to emergency calls.