Following discussion regarding a lack of current bylaws and the need for meeting procedures, Emory made a motion to request County Attorney Ken Bernard draw up new bylaws.
Board chairperson Pat Fulghum said the current bylaws could lead to a violation of the state open meetings law.
“We only have the Georgia law and we need to revise meeting procedures.” Fulghum said. “We have nothing in stone except for the Georgia law.”
The board also discussed the need for a full-time volunteer coordinator at the animal shelter, which Emory moved to request the county commission fund the position.
Both motions were unanimously approved by members of the advisory board.
According to animal services director Rick Smith, a secretary/dispatcher and a field officer have been added in recent weeks, while the addition of a volunteer coordinator was pending approval from the county commissioners. Plans are to have two supervisory positions in place within 30 days, according to Smith.
The board went over a progress report on a list of shelter improvements recommended during an evaluation by Lifeline early last year that are being addressed since Smith’s arrival in November. Lifeline, a nonprofit organization based in Atlanta, provides assessments and consultations at animal care and control centers across the country to improve operations, reduce disease and help animal control agencies save more lives, according to the organization’s website.
Last year’s evaluation made issue with lack of staffing “causing a major negative impact on operations and a contributing factor to some of the problems at the shelter.”
Several issues that have been addressed include the county accepting bids for a new telephone system; healthy animal kennels are being separated from sick animal kennels to avoid spread of disease; dogs and cats are being housed in different areas; increased cleaning time for kennel technicians; and revised shelter hours to provide additional cleaning time before opening to public.
Other issues addressed include dogs formerly housed in a courtyard relocated for public access; the courtyard now being used for a visitation and bonding area; the old cat room is used for nursing cats with kittens; animal identification placed on the animal instead of kennel numbering confusion; puppy cages raised 16 inches from floor for better visibility; and dividers installed in outside dog kennels to reduce exposure and disease transmittal.
In addition, kennel technicians are being used more efficiently by them assisting people with animal adoptions. Also, response calls and priority policies have been put into place, Smith said.
The board adjourned the meeting abruptly after a woman approached Fulghum during the meeting asking to speak before the board. Fulghum told the woman no one had signed up for public comment as required under the board’s protocol.
The woman persisted in trying to hand Fulghum documents and insisted on making a statement.
Deputies escorted her from the meeting after she refused to leave the meeting because of her disruption.