AR-News: (GA) City pledges changes at animal shelter

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Sat Oct 25 12:28:45 EDT 2003

City officials pledged closer cooperation with the Bainbridge-Decatur County 
Humane Society and the operation of the city’s animal shelter following a 
meeting with the society and Bainbridge Mayor Bill Reynolds and City Manager Chris 

In response to requests by society President Beth Eck, the city has agreed to 
extend the animal shelter hours in order to afford the public more 
opportunities to see the dogs and cats available for adoption. However, the change in 
hours the shelter is open will not take place until an additional employee is 
assigned to the shelter within the next few weeks, Hobby said following the 
meeting and in a memo dated Wednesday. A sign listing shelter hours and a contact 
person is to be placed on the shelter door.

Volunteer Humane Society members and students will assist in adoption 
paperwork and other matters at the shelter after they have signed liability 
agreements and been trained in the paperwork. The society already assists by providing 
kitty litter, soft food for kittens and puppies, and flats for the cat cages. 

A single copy duplicating machine will be placed at the shelter to facilitate 
paperwork in connection with adoptions and other records.

A special concern of the Humane Society is the location of the cat cages only 
a few feet from the dog cages, a condition that is stressful to both dogs and 
cats. Hobby said that plans are to develop some type of screen or partition 
between the dog and cat cages if space allows.

Society members also requested a quarantine area for sick animals that are 
brought to the shelter. The city manager said that severely injured or sick 
animal should be euthanized immediately upon arrival at the center. In cases of 
mildly sick animals, the staff will consult with Humane Society representatives 
to determine if medical treatment is warranted, and if the Humane Society will 
accept responsibility for this treatment.

Present boarding fees of $3 per day will be increased to $6 per day. The 
Humane Society will not be charged any fee for the animals which they adopt, and 
the Society will accept responsibility for the animal. Hobby stated in the memo 
addressed to Public Works Director Tommy King.

The holding time for all animals is being extended to a minimum of seven 
days, and animals designated by the Humane Society as “Pets of the Week” will be 
kept a minimum of 14 days. 

Concerns about the temperature of the shelter and the comfort of the animals 
during extremely hot and cold weather was expressed by representatives of the 
Humane Society, and the city manager said the thermostat at the shelter will 
be adjusted to maintain a temperature of not less than 60 degrees and not more 
than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

It has been the policy of city employees to double feed and water the animals 
on Saturday and not return to the shelter until Monday. It was suggested that 
the city investigate the practicality of installing self feeding and watering 
devices that could not be overturned or spilled.

A shelter maintenance plan is to be developed by Nov. 7, Hobby said.

Both the mayor and city manager emphasized that, despite the need for 
enlarging the facility, no major renovation can be done until the outcome of the 
SPLOST referendum is reported. The county plans to earmark $300,000 of its money 
from SPLOST funds for construction of a county-wide animal shelter, according 
to Mayor Reynolds, who said that the city will, in all probability, negotiate 
with the county regarding a joint operation of the shelter.

Although long-range plans of the Humane Society include operation of its own 
shelter on a low-kill basis, the members are presently concentrating on 
rescuing adoptable animals, having them spayed or neutered, and finding good homes 
for them. 

They are also attempting to educate the public about taking responsibility 
for their animals, and reducing the number of unwanted dogs and cats by having 
their pets spayed or neutered. Society members and volunteers are presently 
working with elementary school students in this respect. 
©The Post-Searchlight 2003 
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