Fannin County Animal Control hosts open house

Community, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Volunteers and staff welcomed visitors to the Fannin County Animal Control (FCAC) facility on Saturday Oct. 27 to showcase the positive improvements being done and of course, the wonderful dogs being housed there.

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Present to discuss future plans for FCAC are left to right: Animal Control Officer Junior Cornett, Fannin County Chairman Stan Helton, FCAC Department Head John Drullinger, volunteer Diane Head, and volunteer Patrice Noble Epps.

It was a crowded house as residents and visitors got to peek inside the FCAC facility and speak with the staff and volunteers about ways they can contribute to this community service.

This year the facility has seen upgrades in the likes of outdoor runs attached to the indoor kennel areas. The Fannin County Board of Commissioners approved funding for this project after speaking with FCAC Department Head John Drullinger on the impact this addition would have not only on staff safety but also for the quality of life of the animals.

“It makes such a difference for the dog’s quality of life,” Drullinger said explaining the changes he has witnessed since the outdoor runs were added. “They get more fresh air and it gives us a better ability for cleaning and sterilizing the inside part.”

Beyond improvements to the building itself, the recent movement of community volunteers taking action to help out in anyway that they can has had major impacts.

Volunteers come on a daily basis to walk dogs, clean kennels, and offer services in their areas of expertise. Some choose to take photos to help spread the word via social media about the adoptable animals at FCAC and others have even proposed using their artistic skills by offering to create a mural at the facility.

“It’s a great help. It’s huge,” Drullinger spoke of the volunteers,”We’re getting a lot of volunteers. Our group keeps growing.”

Patrice Noble Epps is one of the volunteers that loves spending her time working with the animals and crew of FCAC.

“If the animals didn’t have this place, they would be out on the streets,” Noble Epps said speaking of what motivates her to volunteer, “and ultimately they would die.”

A self-professed cleaning fanatic, Noble Epps says that while she enjoys working one on one with the dogs, she also loves to help with cleaning at the facility: “If you want something done, do it yourself and maybe people will follow.”

Noble Epps spoke of the ease in which she has been able to work with Fannin County staff to bring about changes and to focus on more improvements in the future: “I think you always have to have a good relationship with the people that you are going into their house.”

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Debbie Harbin, Co-owner of Treo Blue Ridge and regular volunteer, stopped by to introduce FCAC dogs to visitors at the open house.

The volunteers and staff have been working together to create more changes, both Drullinger and Noble Epps spoke of the recent addition of a sponsorship program.

This program accepts monetary donations from the public and these donations are being used to vet the dogs at the shelter. Vetting includes spay/neuter, heartworm testing, rabies vaccination, and microchipping.

During the open house several residents stepped up to donate to this program and sponsor the dogs.

Noble Epps would also like to see donations provide training for the shelter dogs being adopted.

“You could adopt the dog and then you go and you have a training class where you learn how to handle a shelter dog,” Noble Epps explained how the option of a training class would work and stressed that the dogs that have been there the longest would benefit the most.

Another improvement that seems to be on the horizon for the FCAC facility is the addition of an onsite outdoor play area for the shelter dogs. This area will be modeled similar to the dog park that is currently offered by the Humane Society of Blue Ridge, but be used by FCAC dogs only.

“It’s not guaranteed, but it’s in the works,” Drullinger spoke of the possible addition, “it’s on the drawing table and that’s the first step.”

Noble Epps summed up her feelings about volunteering with FCAC: “It’s what we have. Work with it. If you want to make it better, make it better.”
And making it better she has, as well as all the other volunteers who have donated their time and talents.

There is no denying the excitement and enthusiasm that is being brought to FCAC through the volunteers and the building upgrades. It is the hopes of all involved that this positive momentum will continue to increase well into the future.

 

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Animal activists and rescuers speak at BOC meeting

Citizens Speak, Community

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.

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Jan Eaton addresses the board holding a crate tray that she received from FCAC.

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.”

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Photo from FCAC Facbook page showing a dog temporarily housed in a FCAC crate.

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.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Animal activists speak at Board of Commissioners meeting

Citizens Speak, Community

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Animal activists and concerned citizens had their voices heard at the Nov. 14 Board of Commissioners meeting.

After a viral post on Facebook concerning two at-large German Shepherds ended in the dogs being falsely claimed at Fannin County Animal Control (FCAC), concerns over FCAC policy and procedure became a topic of discussion in the community.

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German Shepherds found at the Blue Ridge Post Office.

Commissioners were met with several residents ready to voice their concerns over animal control and over allegations made that Commission Chairman Stan Helton showed indifference to the situation.

First to speak in the Public Commentary portion of the meeting was Ralph Garner of Blue Ridge. Garner began by giving a list of items that he felt Helton had positively handled but quickly shifted into the issue of animal control stating, “His oversight of the ongoing problems with animal control is just not acceptable.”

Garner went on to defend Tri State Pet Rescue’s Founder Jan Eaton over allegations that Helton had made an insulting comment to her during a phone call.  Garner said that Helton’s insult “to our area’s premier companion dog rescuer cannot be overlooked. It needs to be called out and exposed.”

Jan Eaton herself spoke out about the indifference she felt she faced when trying to discuss issues regarding animal control. Eaton had asked to be put on the agenda to have more time allotted but had been turned down.

Eaton stated, “I’m researching to see if anybody has ever been put on the agenda that’s not a county employee, because if so, that is a definite first amendment violation, in my humble opinion.”

FetchYourNews reached out to Helton regarding the public commentary. Helton stated, “I have respect for all of the citizens of Fannin County. I still stand behind our employees at animal control, but I do take the time to look into each concern individually.”

Eaton also addressed the mistakes made in following policy at FCAC when it comes to owner reclaims. She stated that the current policy only requires that proof of rabies be brought for dogs to be released.

Jangling a set of rabies tags, Eaton stated, “They come in waving rabies tags and saying that is my dog. That doesn’t mean jack squat unless you call those rabies tags in and see if they match those dogs.”

A resident of McCaysville also spoke of policy at FCAC. He proposed that animal control make it standard to take a photocopy of the driver’s license of the person claiming a dog. He stated that it would be a way, if need arose, to track down the person who picked up the animal.

Fannin County Animal Control Department Head John Drullinger has looked into ways to improve the department’s current policy. A few of his suggested changes include:

Ask the person attempting to reclaim the pet if they can provide photographic evidence of ownership.

In cases where the pet is going to be reclaimed after ownership has been verified and the rabies tag has been verified to be current:

1. Make a copy of the driver’s license of the owner.
2. Photograph the vehicle the owner is picking up the pet in, regardless if it is the pet owner’s car or not, be sure to include an angle showing the license plate or include a separate photo of the license plate.

These revisions to the policy are not finalized and are still under review.

Also stepping up to try to provide a solution is the Humane Society of Blue Ridge (HSBR). A letter was sent out on behalf of HSBR describing their concern for recent events involving FCAC and the ongoing issue of stray and lost dogs in Fannin County.

The letter offered help stating, “After discussing the situation, our board came up with the suggestion that the FCAC officers microchip the dogs that are either reclaimed from, or adopted out of, the animal control facility. This would be a good way to decrease the number of unidentifiable lost dogs in Fannin County and would assist FCAC officers in returning pets to their owners.”

The letter went on to say, “Should the county and FCAC decide to initiate such a program, the HSBR would like to work with FCAC to help support a microchipping program for dogs adopted from, and those reclaimed from, the animal control facility.”

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

German Shepherds Still Missing in Fannin County

Community, News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – What started out as a good Samaritan’s post on Facebook trying to locate the owners of two at-large dogs, later turned into a search to locate the stolen canines.

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The two German Shepherds located at the Blue Ridge Post Office.

On Nov. 1, 2017, a post to a Blue Ridge, Georgia, Facebook page notified followers on the page that two German shepherds had been found. The post read:

“Please Share! These 2 beauties are hanging around the Blue Ridge Post Office. They both have collars but no tags. A male and a female. Let’s find their family!”

Fearing for the animal’s safety, Fannin County Animal Control (FCAC) was called to retrieve the two dogs.

FCAC received a call at 11:59 a.m. and was on the scene within 10 minutes. The animals were able to be contained and were immediately driven back to the Animal Control building located at 1001 Fannin Industrial Park in Blue Ridge.

According to FCAC records, a call was received within 20 minutes of having retrieved the animals, and the woman calling was claiming to be the owner of the dogs.

After coming to the shelter to give information for owner reclaim records, FCAC released the two canines to the woman who had previously called claiming ownership.

After this release, however, another couple stepped forward claiming ownership of the two German shepherds.

This has raised questions concerning an owner’s responsibility to keep their pets properly identified and  FCAC’s owner reclaim policy. The current policy in place states:

“The owner’s information from their ID card (if they have one) will be written in the Date Out section of the Georgia Department of Agriculture Animal Protection Section Incoming, Outgoing and Surrender Record Fannin County Animal Control.”

Fannin County Animal Control Department Head John Drullinger stated, “This is the first time anything like this has happened in the 11 years I have been here. Of course, it makes you take a look at the current policy and try to find ways to improve. We need to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”

Drullinger is working to amend FCAC’s policy regarding owner reclaims. Once the policy is amended, it could take effect immediately.

County Chairman Stan Helton was made aware of the situation but is currently unable to discuss the specifics of the ongoing investigation.

Helton did tell FYN in regards to the case, “It greatly concerns me. I want to make sure that we are concentrating our efforts in trying to locate these two dogs.”

The dogs were last seen with a woman driving a dark gray newer truck, possibly Toyota. According to open records at FCAC, she left the name Kay Gentry.

If you have any information about the location of the two German shepherds, you are asked to call Fannin County Animal Control at 706-632-3845 or the Fannin County Sheriff’s Department non-emergency line at 706-632-6022.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Dr. Mitchell Has Support in Court

Featured Stories, News

The first phase of the trial for Copper Basin Vet, Dr. William Mitchell took place on Thursday, October 10th. Support for the doctor was very prominent in the Fannin County Courthouse. (more…)

Author

MG

Fannin BOC Approves Patrol Car Financing

Featured Stories, News

Fannin County Board of Commissioners held a productive meeting on January 22nd. The meeting was called to order and the minutes were approved. Then, the Board of Commissioners moved on to new business. (more…)

Author

MG

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