Less than six hours after the Brazil City Council signed a negotiated animal control contract last week, the Clay County Humane Society broke the agreement, Mayor Tom Arthur reported.
"The ink's not hardly dry yet," the mayor told the Brazil Board of Works and Public Safety Tuesday evening.
A dispatcher alerted Arthur that the animal shelter refused to pick up a sick animal Friday afternoon after the Council met in a special session with animal shelter representatives.
In lieu of a designated animal control or humane officer, the contract stipulates an animal shelter employee must retrieve the animal. A call to the local Humane Society was met with a response that the van was not working properly, said Arthur, who also called Commissioner Charlie Brown, the animal shelter board president.
In the event of an emergency, which includes sick or dangerous animals, an animal shelter employee will transport the animal to the shelter, a policy that will be included in the Brazil Police Dept.'s new Standard Operating Procedures manual. Arthur said he signed an executive order to take care of the situation until the issue could be presented to the board, and directed Brazil Police Chief Mark Loudermilk to write the new policy.
Meanwhile, the animal shelter later reported the pet owner had wanted to avoid fees by calling animal control rather than delivering the pet in person, the mayor added.
"No, we didn't break a contract. We don't pick up animals because they're sick," Humane Society Director Rick Moore told The Brazil Times Wednesday.
Although the van was being repaired, Moore said he picked up the sick puppy in his personal vehicle. Typically, animals are picked up only if they are injured, dangerous or a nuisance to people or other animals. But when Moore arrived at the house, there were food dishes and a dog shelter for the pet described to police as a sick stray puppy.
"When I got there, it wasn't a stray. We're not vets here. We're just the Humane Society," he said.
With assistance from the police, the shelter retrieved four dogs from Brazil Saturday, and more were dropped off by local residents. From 5:30 p.m. on Friday to after 5 p.m. on Saturday, Moore personally went on 12 runs to pick up animals.
"I went to the house myself as far as honoring the contract," said Moore, who expressed disappointment no Council representative was in attendance at the Humane Society's recent board meeting, a position he said was added at the mayor's suggestion. "We serve the whole population of Clay County. We have a staff of four and a lot of great volunteers. We're limited in exactly what we can do."
Animal shelter workers also take identification from persons who leave animals there. The shelter won't accept animals from out-of-county residents.
"We want a good working relationship and rapport with the city and county," Moore said. "We can't look at who's wrong. We have to move forward. We have to take care of the animals."