BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Animal activists and members of local animal rescue groups were present to have their voices heard again at the Nov. 28 Fannin County Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting.
Taking the opportunity to speak during the public commentary portion of the meeting, residents addressed their concerns to the board. One resident spoke of the need for the inside of the animal control facility, located at 1001 Fannin Industrial Park in Blue Ridge, to be painted and updated.
Tri State Pet Rescue founder Jan Eaton spoke to the board regarding equipment currently used by Fannin County Animal Control (FCAC). Holding a tray used in the bottom of an animal crate, Eaton said, “With me tonight, I brought a tray that came out of the bottom of a crate that an animal was being housed in at Fannin Animal Control.”
The tray was visibly broken in two. “It is pretty sad that this is the best our county can do for the animals at animal control,” Eaton added.
Eaton went on to point out that at all of the meetings she has attended, department heads often speak to the board asking for specific needs for their department, and that she has yet to see FCAC Department Head John Drullinger do so.
Stating that the board spends “millions here and there,” Eaton said she thinks that the needs of FCAC are often overshadowed by other projects.
Earlier this year, the Board of Commissioners approved upgrades to the animal control facility. BOC Chairman Stan Helton and Post 2 Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee voted to install guillotine doors to the existing kennels; Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson abstained from voting on this issue.
The approved improvements called for fourteen outdoor runs to the facility, as well as guillotine doors to allow the dogs to access these runs from their indoor kennels.
Helton stated at the time, “Not only will this improve living conditions for the dogs but will also allow animal control staff to safely access kennels for cleaning and feeding.”
FetchYourNews asked Eaton how she felt about the improvements that had been approved by the board for the animal control facility. Eaton replied, “They’re doing that. There is just a wealth of things that need to be done.”
Ralph Garner, of Blue Ridge, also spoke during public commentary. Wanting to see changes take place at FCAC he urged Johnson and Sosebee to take action.
“I really am asking post commissioners to take the initiative regarding any complaints about animal control,” Garner pled. “As I look back over the past eight years of the previous chairman, the most significant accomplishments that occurred were done by you two gentlemen.”
Garner’s appeal did not go unnoticed. As the meeting came to an end, Sosebee spoke up about issues that were raised concerning animal control and addressed Eaton’s display of the broken crate tray.
“These trays you brought in … I’m an animal lover, I guess you could say as well,” Sosebee continued, turning to the other commissioners, “and guys I would like to find some way to buy some crates for animal control. If we could possibly do so, I don’t think it would be too much to ask.”
FCAC Department Head John Drullinger addressed the issue of the crate tray brought to the meeting by Eaton. He explained it is not uncommon for FCAC to be filled to capacity. Drullinger stated, “This is because we want to use euthanasia as only an ultimate last resort.”
When FCAC is filled beyond capacity, animals that are brought in are sometimes temporarily housed in individual crates instead of kennel runs.
In this case, Drullinger explained, “We were over capacity but had commitments from rescues to pull some of our dogs very soon. Rather than buy a new crate to house this dog for one day, we borrowed one. The crate was not county property.”
Drullinger added, “All of our (FCAC) crates are in good condition.”
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