County attorney Eddie Jackson said the Walker County Commission intends to move forward with construction of a shelter at the landfill, and the city will operate the current shelter on Birmingham Avenue.
Jackson added that the decision was amicable and does not rule out the possibility of the two entities working together at a single shelter in the future.
“There were a lot of logistical issues with regard to how y’all thought the adoptions would work better in town and that sort of thing that we can recognize with this relationship, and I think it’s probably a better relationship. We’re all plowing new ground here,” Jackson said.
The county shelter is expected to have between 20 and 25 holding cells.
Jackson reiterated that the county is mandated by state law to have a suitable pound and that animals must be kept for a minimum of seven days.
In response to a question by council member Jennifer Smith, Jackson said the city would be welcome to transfer some of the county’s animals to their facility to allow extra time for adoption.
“We will probably start euthanizing those dogs at the end of seven days. We’re not required to; it’s going to be an economic decision. So, if you want to come relieve us of some of those dogs at that seven day interval, we will let you have them,” Jackson said.
The city would also have the option of contracting with the county later if the Birmingham Avenue facility becomes overcrowded.
Mayor Sonny Posey said a plan will be developed to avoid that problem.
“If we stick by the rules that I would expect to be put in place, penalties and fees included, we’re going to try to prevent getting into that situation,” Posey said.
As part of the agreement, the county will be providing the city with the deed to its half interest in the Birmingham Avenue facility.
If the city ceases to use the building for municipal purposes, then the county would regain its interest in the facility.
The county will continue to have use of the current shelter until the new facility is built.
Jackson said he would expect the county’s shelter to be constructed and operational within 12 to 18 months.
At the end of Tuesday’s meeting, Jasper Police Chief Connie Rowe informed council members that the city is currently without an animal control officer because of the retirement of officer John Tune.
Rowe said she is having difficulty finding another officer to fill the position.