Pike County Times
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BREAKING NEWS: Large Donation to Help Pike County's Animal Control Facility
By Editor Becky Watts

ZEBULON - Animal Control was on the agenda of the Pike County Commissioners today. County Manager Bobby Bickley presented a letter to commissioners concerning the possibility of a donation not less than $225,000 that is to be used to either construct or provide substantial renovations to the current animal control facility. This has been an ongoing discussion for many years with the county only providing what is mandated by the state at this time with vicious dogs. What will the next few years hold for Pike County?

A History of Animal Control in Pike County

Animal control has been a hot topic in Pike County for a number of years. The Board of Commissioners got on board with animal control after Mrs. Dolores Smith was attacked by wild dogs at her home on Vega Road and died from those injuries in 2007. Since that time, Friends of Pike County Animals has worked with commissioners and other animal organizations to help out where they could, and the Pike County Board of Commissioners approved Pike County’s Animal Control Ordinance on January 28, 2014. You can read “Animal Control Ordinance Now in Effect in Pike County” from February 25, 2014 by clicking here.

This ordinance gave the definition of a dangerous or vicious dog and outlined a procedure to notify the owner of the right to request a hearing in Magistrate Court and the steps that the county will take when a dog is classified as a dangerous or vicious dog. Pike County did not have a full-time animal control officer at that time nor a facility to hold vicious dogs at that time.

Since then, Pike County has taken steps toward animal control that include a facility and an animal control officer to handle complaints. An office space was moved to County Farm Road and a pens were constructed to hold dangerous and vicious dogs pending their court hearings. Dogs that are suspected of rabies could be quarantined there as well. The county started out with four pens, but the plans were to add more at a later time. You can read “BREAKING NEWS: A Day In the Life of Animal Control in Pike County” from January 23, 2017 by clicking here.

Talk of an Animal Control Facility

Discussion of an Animal Control Donation was on the agenda for today. County Manager Bobby Bickley said that this is something that has been ongoing since he came into office. Chairman Briar Johnson met with the donor as former County Manager John Hanson was leaving. John advised waiting and working with the new county manager. He said that based on Tanya Perkins’ call volume, it will be needed at some point.

The letter from Walker Chandler advises that upon acceptance of the general propositions set forth in the agreement concerning an animal shelter for Pike County, he would have the CLC Foundation contribute not less than $225,000 toward either new construction or substantial renovations of the existing animal control facility. The commissioners are required to give an answer by September with October 15 being the date that a comprehensive architectural plan for the facility which would be required. After approval by the CLC Foundation, the county would have a check in December of this year. Commissioners were advised that the money normally goes to Zoo Atlanta.

What Is the CLC Foundation?

According to the letter dated April 2, 2019 to the Pike County Board of Commissioners, the CLC Foundation was established by Dr. C.L. Chandler, Jr. of Atlanta during his lifetime and is presently control by a Board of Directors consisting of his living children and step-children. The foundation authorizes a board member chosen by sequential rotation to make “a major gift substantially equal to one-half of the entire annual donations of the foundation as determined by its accountants in conjunction with its portfolio manager.”

The CLC Foundation founder expressly provided that this foundation could support animal-care organizations. In the past, one of its major gifts went to ZooAtlanta where the donation could result in naming a portion of the new construction after Winnie Jones Chandler, Dr. Chandler’s second wife and the mother of three of the current board members. Each foundation member is tasked with ensuring that any contribution made on behalf of the foundation is “not wasted, misspent, or otherwise misused intentionally or unintentionally.”

Walker has made some suggestions toward ensuring that the gift will be well-spent by the county and will be a facility that will benefit the county for years to come. These six items must be agreed upon in advance of the funds being given to Pike County for the purpose of improving the current facility or building a new animal control facility.

First, an animal control board must be formed under the provisions of OCGA 4-8-22 consisting of unpaid members from the veterinary community, the County, the municipalities, and any non-profit animal welfare organizations that are currently active in Pike County.

Second, an initial comprehensive plan must by drawn up and presented to Walker on or before October 15, 2019. This plan will include the land and architectural plans for the proposed facility as well as the ownership, operations, and control issues relating to it. He suggested using the existing facility on County Farm Road by expanding the land area, fencing it, organizing sewer connections, etc.

Third, Walker told commissioners that he realizes that the cost of a facility could be much more than this gift of $225,000 and stated that a plan to finish the project including paying any leftover balance needed.

Fourth, Walker said that he is aware the shelter will probably need to be one that allows euthanasia so he did not set a requirement that this be a “no kill” shelter.

Fifth, he stated that this shelter will be a place where adoptions are facilitated.

And finally, he specified that the physical location of the facility must be in Pike County.

In Closing

Commissioner were advised in the meeting this morning that this shelter would fit the footprint that Pike County has now and would be similar to Spalding County so the county can grow into it. County Manager Bickley has visited Upson and Lamar County where both counties have long-time animal control facilities.

Their annual price tag runs around $200,000 to $300,000 per year. Pike County is currently paying $70,000 per year for vicious dogs only. It was said in the meeting that we can build this without going into a full-blown animal control facility in the beginning though this will be needed in the future.

A motion was made to postpone the final decision until after commissioners have more numbers, but the general consensus seemed very positive toward this donation and moving forward on animal control for Pike County.

[Note from the Editor: Thank you to Walker Chandler for offering to help our county move forward on animal control!]

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