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Commission and PAC talk about animal control issue

By Jonathan Pleasant
The Johnson County Humane Society held a very significant monthly board meeting last week in Butler to discuss the future of their Pet Adoption Center (PAC). In addition to dozens of members of the society, the meeting also featured several guest speakers, including several members of the Johnson County Animal Control Committee.
Working with members of the Humane Society for the past couple months, this was the first time that county officials, including County Mayor Larry Potter, made a formal appearance at the PAC. The meeting began with an introduction from Humane Society president, Guy Henry, who actually listened in on the meeting via the Internet from the Bristol Regional Medical Center. Henry set the ground rules for the meeting, encouraging everyone to be respectful and open to the ideas presented. Turning it over to vice-president Patricia DuBose, the first item on the agenda was to hear from members of the county board.
Mayor Potter was the first to speak, beginning by acknowledging that the county does have a very serious animal control problem. Currently Johnson County has no animal control in place and relies on an inter-local agreement with Mountain City to help in emergency situations. The city leaves a few kennels open for county purposes and charges a small fee, but cannot and does not provide coverage for the whole county.
Potter went on to explain that the animal control committee has been very seriously looking into what options are available in establishing animal control but also admitted that financing such a project has been the big concern. The county does have a few limited sources of funding, but as Potter pointed out, establishing animal control would ultimately mean securing a facility and hiring staff, both of which are very costly.
The Mayor went on to say that he has been in touch with other members of the county government as well in an effort to try to pool resources. The most prominent of these is the county sheriff’s department, which by default handles the county’s animal cases. Potter addressed the situation with Sheriff Mike Reece, who receives almost daily animal control related calls. Working within his own limited budget, Potter revealed that Reece might be able to provide a vehicle for the project but could not confirm much more than that at this time.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.