Saturday, November 28, 2009

Marion advances animal shelter

By Ryan Lewis

Correspondent

JASPER, Tenn. -- The process has begun for the creation of an animal shelter in Marion County.

County commissioners this week approved a resolution that would allow the county to create an animal shelter to provide for the collection and care of stray animals.

The facility will be contained within a donated chicken coop.

According to the resolution, the Marion County Sheriff's Office would handle the management of the facility, while the county would be responsible for utilities and any improvements needed for the existing building.

The shelter will be funded almost totally through donations, and the sheriff's office would manage the donated funds for the facility and equipment.

"We've had all kinds of people who say they'll make donations to it if we get it started," Marion County Sheriff Bo Burnett said. "This resolution will get the process started, so we can start getting in contact with some of those people."

Sponsors hope the shelter would help end problems with stray and abandoned animals in Marion County.

Commissioners moved cautiously before voting on the issue. They were concerned that the project would result in another financial drain on the county.

"I don't want to spend a whole bunch of money and it not be successful," Commissioner Thomas Thompson said. "I don't want to pour water on the project, but I don't want to get shot in the foot either."

Other than utilities and minor upgrades, the resolution stipulates that the county will not be liable for any other problems that may occur.

"We hope to raise enough money to hire someone part-time to look after it," Sheriff Burnett said. "But we're on the ground floor right now. We're just getting this started."

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.