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Site for DeKalb County animal shelter still uncertain
by Bridgette Bonner
bbonner@neighbornewspapers.com
May 08, 2013 10:35 AM | 2279 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The DeKalb County Commission disappointed a group of animal advocates at a recent meeting when it decided not to move forward with a recommended site for a new animal shelter.

The commission will appoint another group, in addition to an existing task force and advisory board, to review potential locations for a new shelter.

The new site must meet certain criteria to deter the new site from having similar issues to the existing shelter. The existing animal shelter has a 60 percent kill rate, according to the Advocates for DeKalb Animals.

The advocates organization has worked with the task force for the county commission to improve the existing animal shelter near the county jail or create a new one. The force has animal rescue group representatives, county officials, law enforcement and other concerned citizens who assess conditions and determine reasons for a high euthanasia rate.

“We have two objectives,” said Wardell Castles, of the advocacy group. “One is to outsource the [existing shelter] operations to LifeLine, a well-respected animal facility, which the commission has agreed to. The other is to have the county use $2.7 million of federal bond money to build a new animal shelter facility.”

The Advocates for DeKalb Animals petitioned the CEO and Board of Commissioners to build a new shelter, refrain from cutting funding for the animal services and add staff to care for the animals. The shelter has two staff members to care for more than 200 animals, according to Chamblee Abernethy, co-founder of Georgia Voters for Animal Welfare.

“The existing shelter is a chamber of horror,” Castles said.

“There’s insufficient drainage, standing water, mold, and the cages are unsafe. It’s inhumane and an embarrassment to DeKalb County.”

CEO Burrell Ellis promised a new facility last year, Abernethy said, and an advisory board that was established to implement the goals of the task force recommended a site by the Peachtree DeKalb Airport on Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

The site, however, is less than 4 acres, which the county commission deemed too small.

“We need government officials to understand the moral and ethical issues surrounding this continuous problem,” Abernethy said.

“We need these leaders to actually lead on this very important issue.”

At the county commission’s last meeting, about 80 advocates for animals attended wearing red with photos of animals on their shirts, Castles said. They intend to be at the next meeting, as well.

The county commission will meet again May 14 at 9 a.m. at 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, to discuss potential locations for a new facility.

What's Next?
The DeKalb County Commission will meet May 14 at 9 a.m. at 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur to discuss possible locations for a new animal shelter.
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