During the week of June 7th, 44 dogs and 67 cats were euthanized in the Lumpkin County Animal Shelter. You may hear tales of a Parvo epidemic. But the Parvo was limited to young puppies. There may be allegations of UTI which is nothing more than a urinary tract infection and very unlikely to be contagious. Irrespective of the excuses, a mass execution took place to reduce the shelter population.
In recent months several animal shelters around the state had to very quickly reduce the number of animals housed. In each case, they notified the public of the desperate situation and promoted adoption. And in every case, the public responded and the animals were provided new homes.
Instead of publicizing the problem and encouraging adoption as other shelters do to reduce numbers, Lumpkin County quietly and without the knowledge of the public euthanized more than 100 animals within a matter of days.
According to the now unemployed former shelter director, Valerie Dombrowski, County Manager Stan Kelley never wanted the number of euthanized animals made public. Yet, he ordered the shelter population reduced and these animals to be euthanized.
It seems to me Lumpkin County Commissioners have turned over policy decisions to the county manager that are not in his job description.
I can appreciate the fact that commissioners enjoy dumping controversial matters onto the county manager. It is a smooth move if the public lets them get away with it.
Reality is, the purpose of a multi-member commission is to provide public oversight of policy decisions. Decisions about the capacity and/or size of the animal shelter should not be made behind closed doors by a county manager.
A new mission statement for the shelter is needed since the one for our shelter on http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/lumpkincountypaws.html no longer seems applicable. Commissioners need to hear what residents of this county want the mission of our shelter to be.
When an animal is picked up by county authorities or brought in as a stray, how long should it be held before being put up for adoption or euthanized? At the present time it is held for five days. Is that long enough? A three day wait is being considered. What if you are on vacation and your pet gets away from the person keeping it? After three to five days, you can lose all rights to your pet.
Would the public support expanding kennel space at the shelter if it was done by volunteers and their contributions? At the present time, county policy allows no expansion. Do the commissioners support this policy? Do they know what’s going on at the shelter? Do they care?
Ultimately, county policies are determined by you, the voter. Speak up, demand a voice in decision making, or reconcile yourself to being just another sheep in the flock.