Commissioners expect action on reducing Augusta's animal shelter kill rate

Monday, July 14, 2014 9:52 PM
Last updated Tuesday, July 15, 2014 1:20 AM
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Facing public outrage, three Augusta say they hope to see action Tuesday on reducing the city’s animal kill rate and its policy for working with animal rescue groups.

First, the agenda items must get unanimous approval to be added. The issues came to a head Thursday, after the agenda was finalized, when an Augusta Chronicle editorial called on readers to relay their concerns about Augusta Animal Services Director Sharon Broady’s unwillingness to work with rescue groups, even when healthy young animals seem to be being needlessly slaughtered.

Interim Augusta Administrator Tameka Allen said at a Thursday news conference the city had heard the concerns and would address them, starting Tuesday. A dog rescue group, Dog Networking Agents, or DNA, will be the first group since the outcry to be allowed to select dogs from the shelter then facilitate their adoptions by new owners after they’re spayed or neutered.

According to The Chronicle’s research, for two years Augusta workers have put down shelter animals 70 percent of the time, resulting in the deaths of more than 13,000 dogs, cats and other animals.

“It makes us look like a cold, cruel community,” Commissioner Grady Smith said. “Every commissioner’s phone is ringing off the hook.”

While other commissioners disagreed, Smith said removing Broady might help the situation.

“This lady has shown she’s lost the public trust,” he said.

Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle said he hoped changes in education about the need for sterilizing animals to prevent unwanted pregnancies would help Augusta deal with the huge problem – with licensed rescue groups helping with adoptions in the interim.

“I hope we can work with these licensed rescue groups,” he said.

Also Tuesday, commissioners might consider entering into a contract for veterinarian services, according to interim deputy administrator Steve Cassell, as none applied in response to a city job ad to replace the former veterinarian, who quit.

“We haven’t had much interest in the full-time position,” he said.

Commissioner Mary Davis said she hoped to learn more Tuesday about what animal services needs to decrease the kill rate, increase adoptions and educate the public.

“I want to know what we can do with these rescue groups, what kind of additional resources – staff, funding – are necessary where we can get some improvements to try to lessen these numbers,” Davis said. “Right now, we need to first look at some measures where we can lessen the numbers of animals we put to sleep.”

Davis said the problem was “not so much about the director” who likely was following the commission’s lead. “We haven’t really been getting consistent reports on what we need to be doing proactively.”

The agenda add is in addition to 46 consent agenda items, 10 new agenda items and five speakers lined up to address the commission, including Jodi Pope on the benefits of “no kill” shelters and Alvera Harvey and Jerry Harvey on their brother George Harvey’s death last year after being shocked by Richmond County sheriff’s deputies.

In a new agenda item, Commissioner Marion Williams is taking aim at longtime city consulting firm Heery International over issues associated with ongoing renovations at Augusta Municipal Building and calling for the firm’s removal.

Also, the commission is set to approve a policy change that will exclude the owners of thousands of vacant lots from a new vacant lot garbage fee that appeared on May estimated tax notices.

The meeting starts at 2 p.m. in the commission chamber on the second floor of Augusta Municipal Building, 530 Greene St.

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raul 07/15/14 - 08:05 am
Grady is right. Broady has

Grady is right. Broady has lost the public trust. She also shows an inability to think 'out of the box" in finding solutions. Thirty years working in an institutional setting can do that.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 07/15/14 - 08:23 am

The Chronicle has published this 70% kill rate number several times now. No one has challenged the number. Several commissioners (along with the Chronicle editorial board) are on record saying the 70% kill rate is unacceptable.

Well, one order of business for today's meeting must be to establish an acceptable kill rate number. We know that the target kill rate cannot be established at 0%. Such a number is unachievable. Is 50% acceptable? 30%? 25%?

You've got to be reasonable, because some animals are unadoptable. There are behavior issues, sickness issues, appearance issues, age issues, etc.

Okay, commissioners, you made your bed when you hastily called last Thursday's press conference saying you were going to improve the kill rate. Now comes the hard part of exactly what you expect the animal services department to do. I'm sure this DNA rescue group will try to help, but there is no way that the CSRA can absorb 6,000 dogs every year and get them into qualified homes. There are just not that many homes clamoring for shelter dogs.

LuvMyTown 07/15/14 - 08:26 am
Impossible to adopt out all these dogs, cats, etc.

City needs to adopt a pet licensing ordinance with spay & neuter requirements. Sadly, it probably won't won't because Augusta must always do things the same way it always has.

nocnoc 07/15/14 - 08:42 am
A Societys Treatment of Animals has always been a reflection

of how society treats its lowest class. I would raise Holy Hell if we started FORCING a FIX on parts of our society.

When I purchase our next $650 to $850 AKC Rottie it will be a Female.

An NO, I don't plan to FIX IT.

But I do plan to show some personal responsibility and keep it in the garage during HEAT.

What is needed is more personal responsibility. Some holler fine the violators. The problem is, most of the Violators have demonstrated a lack of personal responsibility, which usually in turn means a lack of $$$$.

But good luck on whatever solution is decided on in this day and age of living for the moment.

Either way the Government will get another toe hole into our personal lives due a small group that lack personal responsibility.

corgimom 07/15/14 - 09:27 am
Don't you wish that people

Don't you wish that people cared more about Richmond County schools than they did about dogs?

If the phones rang off the hook about the schools, they would DO SOMETHING TO FIX THE SCHOOLS.

corgimom 07/15/14 - 09:29 am
What Little Lamb said. Go to

What Little Lamb said.

Go to a shelter. If you want a pit bull or a pit bull mix, you can take your pick.

If you want another breed, you will have a hard time finding one. Why? Because the rescue groups take the desirable ones and then sell them for a higher fee.

And those pits get put down.

Stunned 2
Stunned 2 07/15/14 - 04:18 pm
Not the right job for Broady

She should look into work on Oklahoma's death row, or as a prostitute in Silicon Valley - where she can find success. Or, maybe as security officer in Columbia County's ghetto apartments. Some jobs just aren't the right fit.

Willowtree 07/15/14 - 08:11 pm

According to "Out the Front Door," a group that keeps the some of the best statistics about the no-kill movement, only 262 cities in the US have attained "notable" levels of "live release." Meaning they release 70%-90% of the animals taken to shelters. According to the census bureau there are approximately 20,000 incorporated cities in the US.

Do the math....that is less than 1% of all the cities in the US that have that success rate.

Can we do better for the animals as a city? Of course, but stop pointing fingers that does not help. Spay and neuter would help, licensing would help, donating time and resources would help.....working together would help. Let's get real.

creolechick 07/16/14 - 12:11 am
Great first step to a no kill facility!

Really appreciate the commissioners open minds in this matter. Another vital step in achieving this is to pass strict breeding laws. All these backyard breeders breeding more pits when the shelter is full is just crazy. The breeders are part of the problem!

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