Government

More News | | | Editor

Animal Services leaves out key proposal during Commission presentation of ways to lower shelter kill rates

Thursday, June 26, 2014 6:20 PM
Last updated Friday, June 27, 2014 11:24 AM
  • Follow Government

Augusta Animal Services presented the Augusta Commission with an array of changes to the county’s animal ordinances Thursday, but omitted a key proposal being pushed by some of the shelter’s advisory board members.

The revised ordinances include requiring all pet owners to spay or neuter their animals unless they obtain an “unaltered animal permit;” strengthening laws to not allow tethering for an extended period of time; and requiring the licensing of all pets.

The changes did not include an agreement to relinquish unaltered animals to rescue organizations, which under a written contract the groups would spay and neuter the animals within 30 days, something at least five advisory board members have requested.

The Augusta Commission voted to move the ordinances to the July’s public safety committee meeting for discussion. The Commission also directed the county administrator to meet with Animal Services staff and advisory board members to find a middle ground on working with rescue groups.

“I just feel like we have to try this,” said Commissioner Mary Davis. “There has to be a solution somewhere.”

Georgia law requires public shelters sterilize animals before relinquishing them to rescue groups or private citizens, or enter into written contracts with the person or group acquiring the animal guaranteeing the new owner would spay or neuter the pet within a month.

AAS advisory board member Lorna Barrett said to lower the county’s 70 percent euthanasia rate, the shelter should enter into written contracts with rescue groups, similar to the arrangement at Columbia County Animal Services.

Although it takes in less than half the amount of animals as Augusta, Columbia County Animal Services has a 30 percent euthanasia rate and prosecutes all pet owners or rescues who do not comply with the spay and neuter requirement.

“The truth is there are several very reputable rescue organizations that have offered to take unaltered animals and save them from near certain deaths and their offers have been rejected,” Barrett said. “Doing something about this is certaintly better than what we’re doing now.”

AAS Director Sharon Broady said that arrangement has been unsuccessful in the past and would only perpetuate the animal overpopulation problem in the county. Broady said she does not have the budget or staff to ensure the rescue groups or new owners have complied with the law.

Willene Colvin, AAS advisory board member and Save the Animals Rescue Society founder, said the risk of noncompliance is low because rescue groups are held to the same standards as municipal shelters and could face a fine or loss of license if they do not follow through with sterilization.

Several Commissioners noted the importance of finding solutions to reduce euthanasia, but said more information about the contracts with rescue groups, as well as the impact of the revised ordinances, was needed.

“I’m glad we’re speaking for the animals because they can’t speak for themselves,” Commissioner Marion Williams said.

Comments (18) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Pops
14967
Points
Pops 06/26/14 - 07:28 pm
8
4
Quote Of The Year

Drum roll please.........................

“I’m glad we’re speaking for the animals because they can’t speak for themselves,” Commissioner Marion Williams said.

I'm telling you folks, this guy is priceless.........

dichotomy
37683
Points
dichotomy 06/26/14 - 07:32 pm
11
1
The reality is that Richmond

The reality is that Richmond County is NEVER going to fund Animal Control to the point where is can do it's job. They need to sign the agreements with outside agencies.

The were talking about having a registration fee for pet owners. The only thing that will accomplish is that same people who already don't get their pets neutered will also avoid taking their pets to the vet for rabies shots so they will not have to pay the extra fee. Oh sure, responsible pet owners will not mind paying it.....but the people who already don't have their pets neutered will also quit getting their pets vaccinated. Hey Richmond County........the answer to everything is not always ADDING ANOTHER FEE.

A properly funded and properly run Animal Control is one of those things that should have been budgeted for before building parking decks and $million dollar a year contracts for TEE Center operation. It's one of those BASIC SERVICES that our property tax should already be covering.

Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 06/26/14 - 08:07 pm
4
1
Bless the Beasts
Unpublished

and the children... (the latter being Augusta commissioners)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J22xM0MIFr0

TrulyWorried
16758
Points
TrulyWorried 06/26/14 - 08:27 pm
9
0
Commissioners vs. Animals

The commissioners won out for right now - until the NEXT meeting in July - how low can you go - you could have found some type of interim solution to allow the rescue people to get the animals out of the shelters, signing their contracts and moving the animals out of the hands of these non-caring well paid employees. DO SOMETHING NOW - not in July or maybe the following months. Go to the shelter and LOOK at those wonderful creatures that would make wonderful pets for many folks that want them. Everything that comes out of the Commission chamber is always half done or postponed or needs to be studied more or needs an advisor. Get advice from Columbia County and follow their example. I promise you - not a soul will arrest you because you have made an honest attempt to truly DO something right for a change, and do it NOW!!Sometimes I wonder if I am in the right county - I've been paying taxes for goodness how long but don't see anything being done that would make sense to me, especially when it comes to animals.
So it is only a partial solution to all that involves animals but it would be a step in the right direction as far as an immediate remedy for the miserable conditions that exist at the shelter now.

specialist
209
Points
specialist 06/26/14 - 10:47 pm
12
0
Animal control facility

1. Fire Brody
2. Rewrite the Director of the animal control facility to include the prerequisite the the appointee is a licensed veterinarian. Make the position full time. Increase the base salary to be commensurate to what a private practice vet would earn.
3. Create a subordinate position that would tend to the day to day running of the facility, with the Director only providing oversight.
4. If the operating suite was not installed as the original plans called for, install one now.
5. publish the names and contact information of all those assigned to the advisory board.
6. Establish a GOAL of becoming a NO KILL facility. By golly, if San Francisco California can do it, we can do it.
7. Time is of the essence. Gods innocent creatures are dying through no fault of their own,

Little Lamb
49365
Points
Little Lamb 06/27/14 - 07:08 am
3
5
Trust

From the story:

Georgia law requires public shelters sterilize animals before relinquishing them to rescue groups or private citizens, or enter into written contracts with the person or group acquiring the animal guaranteeing the new owner would spay or neuter the pet within a month.

The trouble is that you cannot trust the general public or the rescue groups to honor their guarantee. I have been involved with two of these rescue groups, and when you see their day-to-day operations, you see that what they really, really want are newborn puppies and kittens, because that is the greatest demand the public is clamoring for. Well, most vets will not sterilize an animal within 30 days of its birth.

I suppose that Sharon Broady has already found out the hard way that rescue group demands for newborns has led to unsterilized animals being fostered, which undermines the Georgia law.

One solution would be for Broady to use discretion and to release only unsterilized animals that are old enough to be sterilized immediately. But she still would have a certain percentage who would violate their pledge to have the animals sterilized.

One other solution would be to charge a large deposit for unsterilized animals. When the new owner or the rescue group presents a signed veterinarian’s certificate of sterilization, then the deposit would be returned. I suggest that the deposit be $500 to make sure the person or rescue group is serious.

Another dirty little secret about these rescue groups is that their favorite “rescue” is a pregnant female. I have been at adoption rallies where the nursing mom and the pups are the center attraction. Many of the pups are adopted on the spot, and you can be sure that those pups are not sterilized. There is no telling what the rescue groups do with the mother after she has supplied them with a bevy of adoption fee money.

Do not demonize Ms. Broady. She has a tough job, and this issue is more complex than the advisory board members are saying.

corgimom
38832
Points
corgimom 06/27/14 - 07:19 am
6
3
What LL says. No vet will

What LL says. No vet will spay or neuter an animal that young.

The reason for the high kill rate in RC versus CC has everything to do with income and nothing to do with how the shelters are run. It used to be that it didn't cost much to have a dog. Now, with spay/neuter, shots, heartworm pills, flea pills, etc they are very expensive, and that doesn't include vet bills from when they are sick or hurt. Too many people in RC can't afford them.

And I strongly suspect that RC, because of its demographics, get a lot of pit bulls and pit mixes, and they are very hard to adopt out. It's been estimated that they now make up 60% of shelter animals.

Stunned 2
6358
Points
Stunned 2 06/27/14 - 07:28 am
5
2
Do not make it too expensive for people to own pets!

Don't require a license fee for every pet owner. I would agree with a license fee for all unsterilized pets (breeders) in the county. If your pet isn't sterilized - then you are a breeder. Make it easier for citizens to have their pets sterilized. Vets need to be paid a fair wage. They need to make a living too, but the county government should put a program into place allowing economically challenged citizens discounted spay & neuter options. Richmond County's budget is large enough for major changes at that shelter. Stop wasting money on politically motivated fribilous crap.

itsanotherday1
48437
Points
itsanotherday1 06/27/14 - 07:38 am
5
2
Dichotomy, I respectfully

Dichotomy, I respectfully disagree that "adding a fee" is not the solution to everything. In many cases, it is very effective at steering behavior in a desirable direction. Fines don't eliminate speeding, but the threat of such sure does keep most people in line.

Nationwide, laws should be beefed up addressing puppy mills and the pet trade. Locally, ordinances governing ownership and care of animals should be passed and enforced. Us true animal lovers would not care a whit because we take care of our pets, but some inconvenience/expense to those who don't should deter a lot of them from getting pets to begin with.

We need to stop the problem at the source and quit treating the symptoms.

Stunned 2
6358
Points
Stunned 2 06/27/14 - 07:55 am
5
1
Work with people if new regulations are put into place.

Don't put a pet owner in a crisis situation. (Rumor) Last year there was a local family with puppies. Supposedly the Dad told the kids that he was going to 'kill those puppies' if they weren't gone when he got home from work that day. Well, yeah, the kids and the puppies should have ALL been taken away from him (mental abuse), but, sometimes hard working people get overwhelmed. Our local rescue groups work miracles, but their foster homes are always full.

raul
5786
Points
raul 06/27/14 - 08:29 am
5
2
@Stunned2 . Pets, especially

@Stunned2 . Pets, especially dogs, are expensive to maintain if given the proper nutrition and veterinary care. Like children, you shouldn't have them if you can't afford them.

Stunned 2
6358
Points
Stunned 2 06/27/14 - 09:08 am
5
2
Raul, I don't want to argue with you. That's an 'easy' statement

that you made. I somewhat agree with it, but those that get out there and are involved in animal rescue realize through experience, there are elderly people with limited income that make great care givers for pets and enjoy the company of a dog or cat. There are hard working citizens providing for their young families that enjoy pets, but find it hard to budget for sterilization costs - so they keep putting it off. I would support large registration fees for breeders ($500, maybe $1000) with also an annual fee ($150). They can pass the costs on it on in sales. Make it cheaper to pay a Vet for sterilizing, than it would be to pay an annual fee. This would make less designer dogs available and more citizens would visit the area shelters.

AFjoe
5631
Points
AFjoe 06/27/14 - 09:19 am
4
3
Can't afford them

Raul-"Like children, you shouldn't have them if you can't afford them.
You don't have to be able to afford children...as long as there is uncle sugar/government passing out everything you need--food, shelter, cell phone that statement no longer applys. Now if you want people to have pets, all that is needed is Animal Welfare

CobaltGeorge
177293
Points
CobaltGeorge 06/27/14 - 12:55 pm
2
1
AFjoe

Pretty well put.....

itsanotherday1
48437
Points
itsanotherday1 06/27/14 - 05:27 pm
3
0
Stunned

It would not be my goal to put the cost of having a pet out of reach for a responsible owner (trust me, I am aware of the $hundreds$ we spend annually on our two). I paid for a disabled friend to get his best friend and companion spayed a while back.

My idea of fees and penalties would be to punish those who did not act responsibly, and discourage people who should not have pets from getting them. Monies collected could be put towards spaying/neutering for adoptable pets.

Another idea I had that would mitigate costs some; is to allow properly trained vet techs to perform sterilizations at government animal shelters, under the indirect supervision of a veterinarian. I'm sure the vets would balk, just as anyone does when getting their professional business cut into, but it is a fairly routine procedure that any vet surgical assistant could do with training.

Obviously, I would not recommend they do it anywhere else, as the best option is a DVM; but these are no one's pets, are destined for death without the surgery, and only have an upside to getting the procedure done. If there was an occasional but rare "OOPS" , it would be worth it for the larger gain.

Little Lamb
49365
Points
Little Lamb 06/27/14 - 05:35 pm
1
1
Vet Techs

Good idea, IAD.

Stunned 2
6358
Points
Stunned 2 06/27/14 - 07:27 pm
2
0
I wasn't addressing your posts, just sharing experience, IAD.

I personally think that it would be too overwhelming for the local government to try to keep up with every dog & cat owner in Richmond County, by requiring all to pay a fee. And, It's none of the governments' business if you or I have (unproblematic) pets. I am suggesting fees and licenses for breeders - as a way to deter more litters. Also, another point is that many 'back yard' breeders, or irresponsible pet owners - as they are often referred to, sell and never report income on their taxes. This is another reason the government should have an interest in the pet breeding business of citizens, not only because of the added expense of governmental disposal of the overpopulation of pets.

corgimom
38832
Points
corgimom 06/28/14 - 03:57 pm
0
0
Stunned 2, back in the old

Stunned 2, back in the old days, yes, people killed unwanted puppies and kittens, and nobody batted an eye. It's still done today in rural areas and farms.

Not everybody feels sentimental about dogs and cats. For some, they are for utilitarian use and are working animals. And it's not abuse to kill unwanted animals, it's done all the time with people that live out in the country- because they get animals dumped at their doorstep, because foolish people think that rural people can feed hordes of dogs and cats.

flipa1
3103
Points
flipa1 12/16/14 - 07:56 am
0
0
Chemical neutering is so

Chemical neutering is so quick, easy and cheap we might not need to drain to the counties coffers to kill all the strays. Is this why it’s such a secret?

Back to Top
loading...
Search Augusta jobs