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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Council renews animal contract

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

(Photo)
Clay County Animal Rescue, Inc. Co-owner John Owens (right) explains to council members and Mayor Ann Bradshaw what is in pictures provided by residents concerned with its operations during Wednesday's meeting. Ivy Jacobs Photo. [Order this photo]
* Residents express concerns with rescue's operations

The Council Chambers of City Hall was nearly full Wednesday afternoon to join in on the Common Council of the City of Brazil's discussion of the animal contract.

Mayor Ann Bradshaw invited representatives from both the Clay County Animal Rescue, Inc., Center Point, which had the contract for 2009, and the Clay County Humane Society for consideration on who would receive the 2010 contract during the special meeting.

"The only thing we have to offer is what we had last year, and that's $12,500," Bradshaw said.

Bill Bell, a representative of the Humane Society informed the council they were not interested in a contract for that amount.

"From what the board is telling me, we can't do very much with that," Bell said.

With the Humane Society taking themselves out of the running, attention was turned toward the Animal Rescue, which is co-owned by husband and wife, John and Chrystll Owens.

Bradshaw informed the Owens there were no changes made from the contract they had last year, to which Chrystll responded, "That's fine with us."

However, having the Animal Rescue receive the contract for another year was not fine with many in attendance who decided it was time to voice their opinions and complaints.

After Brenda Gaskill and other residents provided pictures of the facility -- located at 763 S. State Road 59 -- which had apparently been taken in August, Bradshaw called John up to the council members' table to analyze the photos.

John explained they are still in the process of remodeling the rescue, which is also their private home, and they had been unable to complete construction on another outbuilding like they had planned due to adverse weather conditions and having to level out the land on the property through the year.

Some of the complaints levied included the animals were not well taken care of and did not have adequate food and water, along with the property itself looking terrible. Others also said they had materials missing and indirectly insinuated the items were on the Owens' property.

John addressed one of the missing items specifically.

"We had a gentleman in Clay City ask us to come clean out his garage because he had a lot of kennels and dog crates stored in them," he said in reference to a crate with "CCHS" written on it.

Resident Gary Rickert said the fact "CCHS" was on the crate did not necessarily mean it belonged to the Humane Society, as was suggested, but Owens said he had no problem giving it to the Humane Society if they wanted it.

Council Member Sam Glover took issue with the delay in providing the complaints and pictures.

"I find it interesting this wasn't brought to our attention before now," Glover said.

He also asked who took the pictures and their authenticity, to which no one apparently had as they responded the photos were sent to them "anonymously."

Council President Pat Heffner said she and council member Bill Lovett had made spontaneous inspections of the Animal Rescue and had seen the animals were all well taken care of and the city had received far fewer complaints over the last year than they had in the past.

Brazil City Police Department Head Dispatcher Cathy Craig also gave praise for the Animal Rescue's response ability.

"Every time we call them, they come out," Craig said. "The dispatchers have never had an argument when we call about aggressive animals or even when it is in the middle of the night."

Glover concurred Craig's sentiments.

"My complaint calls have dropped significantly compared to when we contracted with the Humane Society," he said.

After more questions -- including the Rescue's hours and "by appointment only" policy -- were asked of the Owens, council member Steve Lamb had heard enough.

"All this talking back and forth does us no good," Lamb said, then turned to address the Owens. "Our contract with you is to come to Brazil and pick up animals, which you do very well and we appreciate that."

Heffner made the motion to renew the contract with the Animal Rescue, which was unanimously approved, 5-0.

Meanwhile, the council also passed separate salary ordinances, with suspended rules, for the BCPD, Brazil Fire Department and appointed officers/city employees, which included a 3 percent increase. Elected officials will not be receiving an increase in pay for 2010.

The council also passed the second reading of an ordinance setting the increases in the city's sewer rates through 2012, along with a resolution transferring money to the city's Rainy Day Fund.

The next regular meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil will be 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010, in the Council Chambers of City Hall.