Dear Editor, This letter is in reference to the April county commissioners meeting, particularly their agenda relative to animal control.It seems, once again, the leadership lacks continuity in providing speakers an equal amount of time to express their opinions and allowing others to control the animal control issue. As Mr. Fenner was allowed to be the first speaker, and all others were relegated toward the end of the commissioners meeting, instead of keeping similar opinions being together, shows a lack of providing an equal opportunity by Chairman Mike Taylor.
Mr. Fenner states that he is a “hunter,” therefore he believes in animal control by the mere fact that he hunts, he controls some animal population, be it deer, rabbit, turkey or whatever. Mr. Fenner states that “he believes that “most” animal owners take care of their pets and only a small percentage of people who abandon, abuse or allow their animals to become a problem.” It certainly seems that everyone concedes there is an animal control problem in the county. Even the online opinion poll is only divided by those who oppose taxes and those not. I totally agree with Mr. Fenner that we certainly don’t need an additional tax increase.
It is obvious that since Mountain City feels there is a need for animal control, perhaps the need is greater in the county. Perhaps all the animals realize that they are required to remain in the city where animal control is active, or is it they travel to the county area of responsibility knowing the lack of animal control and safety. That presents a quandary. The county needs animal control. In the past when one wises to rid themselves of unwanted animals, they merely had to “dump” the animal on some isolated county road their “problem” ceased to exist.
Additionally, when animals have to be housed for extended periods of time due to animal abuse issues/cases, with court jurisdiction, this increases the costs. A larger facility and additional acreage is required to accommodate larger animals. Suggestions for financing a countywide animal control unit: Since I believe that the commissioners receive approximately $200 stipend each month, perhaps they could forgo that stipend ($200 x 12 months times 15 commissioners equal $36,000). They could then direct those monies toward alleviating the animal control problem finances. I am sure that the county sheriff has a fund for paying Mountain City Animal Control to respond to animal issues in the county, and then this fund could be added to the above. Additionally, monies spent by the city could be added to this amount. I am confident that this account would greatly enhance the country’s ability in providing county wide animal control. I am confident that Mountain City and Johnson County can come to some agreement in managing the animal control problem.
In conclusion, has any commissioner obtained a legal opinion from the county attorney relative any litigious action by citizens, that they and/or their animals, being attacked by uncontrolled animals? Perhaps the county and city can coordinate a meeting to solve the “dilemma” of animal control without overlapping services.