Looking for a new pet? Need to give one away? There might soon be a local shelter that offers residents just that.
The Bryan County Commission has agreed to consider leasing land for a no-kill animal shelter after Nancy Baker, president of the South Bryan Animal League, presented the commissioners with information about the benefits of such an addition to the county.
"There needs to be a place for residents to take pets without fear the animal will be euthanized," Baker said. "We need a no-kill shelter where residents can take animals and can adopt pets."
Baker, who has worked with animals for more than 20 years, said there are "a lot of unmet pet needs" in the county.
A shelter will help curb the spread of disease among pets and homeless animals, she said.
It will also help alleviate some of the work Bryan County Animal Control is doing, because they are currently processing 50 pets each month with less than a third of them being re-housed.
"We decided to be the change we wanted to see in the world," Baker said. "We will build a state of the art no kill animal shelter where we expect to adopt out 400-600 animals a year. We will offer training to improve retention among residents and their pets. The shelter will promote spay and neuter in the community, dog training classes and education for pet owners."
Baker said they plan to raise funds through the South Bryan Animal League by direct solicitation, membership fees, fundraisers and grants, along with private, community and county partnerships. She estimates it will take two years to get the project funded and the annual budget is projected to be $145,000.
"It would be of great benefit to us if the county would lease us three acres of land at a nominal fee to build the shelter," Baker said, noting land at Spur 144 near the landfill as a possible site. "This is a needed and noble project…We do plan on this being a state of the art facility; we want it to be prominent and accessible."
Chairman Jimmy Burnsed agreed it is important and the county will look into leasing land and providing help for the shelter’s implementation.
"As this community grows, this need will continue to become greater and this will become even more important in the future," Burnsed said.
County Attorney Charles Brown told commissioners later in the meeting they would be able to lease land to the group, but that it had to be through a formal agreement with a nominal payment for the property.
Members of the group include Baker, Vice President Dana Boyd, Secretary Paula Cumbee, Treasurer Warren Onken, Membership Coordinator Richard Hubel and Volunteer Coordinator Lise Marshall.
In other business:
- Director of Emergency Services Jim Anderson updated the board on the bid proposal for a fire station in the Interstate Centre. The Blitchton station will close with the new station to replace it. The board unanimously approved the low bid to Hagan Construction for $218,915 with funds to come from SPLOST V Fire Stations. This means there will not be enough funding for the reconstruction of Fire Station 1 from Hwy. 144 at Belfast Keller Loop to inside Henderson Park; this project will likely have to wait. "Because of increased costs of these buildings, we’re going to have to delay that until additional revenue comes in, which we expect to happen by 2010," County Administrator Phil Jones said. Anderson also presented a proclamation for EMS Week in Bryan County, which will be May 18-24.
- Tara Jennings presented a resolution from the House of Representatives for the Drug Free Coalition. She said the high increase of inappropriate use of prescription drugs was the cause for the resolution. "I just wanted you to know the efforts that are going on," she said, noting several projects are underway.