Closing Cleveland’s animal shelter and partnering with SPCA of Bradley County were topics of discussion Monday by the Cleveland City Council.
The Council had been set to vote on a resolution to close the city’s animal shelter, but keep Cleveland Animal Control in existence to pick up animals.
The resolution was delayed after SPCA Board President Betti Gravelle expressed concerns the limited staff of the SPCA shelter could be overwhelmed with the influx of animals.
“It’s certainly an option we could look at,” Gravelle said.
She said she did not have the needed information to discuss details during the meeting. She added details of a contract would need to be considered, if the city wanted to pursue the option.
“We don’t want to get back to something where we have the same amount of animals and a fifth of the money and a fourth of the staff,” Gravelle said.
She said she would like to see the current Cleveland animal shelter used as a second location of SPCA if the city chooses to close it and support SPCA of Bradley County.
“I think it would be a shame for that building not to be in use,” Gravelle said.
The proposed resolution mentioned no monetary contribution to the SPCA shelter.
At-Large Councilman Richard Banks said, “it makes sense to combine” facilities, so city residents are not paying for two animal shelters.
“I would never vote to do away with our animal control or our animal shelter,” At-Large Councilman George Poe said.
The Bradley County Commission contracted with SPCA of Bradley County to run an animal shelter after the Commission voted to end the contract with the city. The shelter operates as a nonprofit with a $80,000 donation from the county. The shelter only takes animals dropped off by individuals, except in emergency situations, according to Gravelle.
“It is a shelter, not animal control,” Gravelle said.
The shelter does accept dropoffs from city residents. Gravelle said more funding would be needed if all of the city’s animals were coming to the SPCA shelter.
“We are not out actively pursuing animals. A resident must make that decision. … We are certainly in no position to do so, unless it is an emergency situation,” Gravelle said.
She said having animals from animal control “would enter a whole different realm of where are these animals going to go?”
Banks asked if No Kill ideology would be better promoted if there was only one animal shelter for the city and county.
Gravelle said SPCA of Bradley County would “never kill an animal because of space.”
The shelter also follows No Kill principles that increase the animals’ quality of life.