Bradley County Sheriff proposes $363,000 animal control plan
The Bradley County Sheriff's Office has come up with a new way to help control the county's problem with aggressive and stray animals.
Wednesday, June 24th 2015, 5:24 pm EDT
Thursday, June 25th 2015, 7:59 am EDT
After six dog attacks in Bradley County in the last month, Sheriff Eric Watson says animal control is an urgent need, but the solution isn't cheap.
Watson proposed his $363,000 dollar Animal Control Services Plan to County Commissioners on Wednesday.
"We're starting at ground zero," Watson said. "We have no equipment at all to do any type of animal service."
The Sheriff's Office reports getting up to 11 calls every day about aggressive animals.
Watson's proposal covers salaries and equipment for four deputies who would patrol as County Animal Control Officers 24/7. They'd respond to all calls concerning animal cruelty cases, stray and aggressive animals, and animals who need shelter if their owner gets arrested.
"This proposal is just for pickup and transport. It has nothing to do with a holding facility," Watson explained.
The county's SPCA shelter is a small facility. President Ed Elkins said kennel capacity is already an issue, especially during summer months.
The Bradley County SPCA is a no-kill shelter. The exceptions are vicious animals. Of the county's six dog attacks in the last month, three of those bites required trips to the hospital.
"We have had to euthanize some animals that were vicious and not adoptable, but it didn't have anything to do with capacity," Elkins said.
The shelter worries its current facility would not be able to handle the high volume of animals that deputies would be picking up off the streets.
According to Elkins, better enforcement of the state's leash law could nip some of the animal issues right now.
Two Bradley County dog owners have been arrested in the last month after their pet attacked other people.
"In my opinion, if they were issuing citations now for people violating the leash law, a lot of the stray animal problem would go away," Elkins said.
The Animal Control proposal has not been voted on yet. An ad hoc committee will discuss proposals from the Bradley County and the City of Cleveland on July 27.