Ad-hoc chairman wants to see ‘flow chart’

Stephen Ford speaks during a meeting of an ad-hoc group looking into an animal holding facility in Huntsville.

The chairman of an ad-hoc committee of the Huntsville City Council said he would like to see a “flow chart” for a new temporary animal holding facility.

Stephen Ford said the committee needs to address what happens with a dog once it is picked up by the city and after the animal leaves the temporary facility. Animals will be boarded for a minimum of three days at the new facility, with an effort to find a local owner, then will be sent to either the local Paws and Claws Pet Shelter or Unconditional Love Pet Rescue in Carroll County.

“We need a flow chart from the time an animal control person is picking up an animal, from the time it leaves us and goes to the pet shelter or Berryville, whatever, that’s where our game plan should stop,” Ford said.

The council recently voted to build the animal facility at the city’s industrial park site off of Amanda Place. The ad-hoc group was tasked with deciding where on the property the facility will be built, how it will be operated and how the animals will be cared for.

Water and electricity will have to be put in place before the shelter can be built at the industrial park site.

Ford, who serves on the city council, has said the city’s Animal Control Officer Amanda Evans has offered to care for the animals. Others have suggested that a group of volunteers could assist her, with Evans in charge of scheduling volunteers.

Also attending the meeting last week were City Clerk Janice Smith, Planning Director Jennifer Thomas, Police Chief Todd Thomas, Water Department employee Sean Davis and Public Works Supervisor Josh Murr.

A new animal ordinance is working its way through the city council and will have its third reading at the next council meeting on Nov. 11.

The city council earlier this month also renewed its contract with Paws and Claws Pet Shelter to pay $180 per animal taken to the shelter, with under 10 taken each month.

Unconditional Love has proposed taking dogs from Madison County that have been in the temporary shelter for more than three days, though nothing has formally been signed between the group and the city.

Todd Thomas said a board member with Unconditional Love said she would like to meet with the ad-hoc committee, perhaps on Wednesday of this week.

Unconditional Love takes in animals from Carroll County, Green Forest and Berryville, then works to find people throughout the United States who will adopt the animals.

Ford asked Thomas to contact the board member again and ask basic questions about the shelter.

“We need a commitment on their behalf as to how many can they take from us monthly ... and what would be a fee and how often could they come get them,” Ford said.

Todd Thomas has stressed that anyone in the city having issues with animals needs to call the police department, not Evans directly. He said the police department has cut way down on the number of stray dogs it takes in, focusing on threatening animals or those that are “repeat offenders.”

The committee also stressed that it wants Evans to become certified with the state.

Someone brought up the issue of how the city will treat an injured animal in the city. Todd Thomas said once an animal is taken to a veterinarian, it is his decision as to whether the city will pay for its treatment.

The ad-hoc group planned to meet again at 3:30 p.m. this Wednesday.

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