Anyone coming to a Marion County Board of Supervisors meeting can see very quickly the opinions of the supervisors when it comes to certain subjects such as the animal shelter.
Now before I go any further I do want to make a clarification to the story in Thursday’s paper about the shelter. Beat 1 Supervisor Eugene “Blue” Green did tell an individual to shoot a dog, but the dog was not shot and Green within minutes found the dog’s owner, who came and retrieved his pet.
The Columbia Animal Control and Rescue Center is staffed through the Columbia Police Department. The only tie to the county is the use of the building on Airport Road rent free. The county pays the utilities, but everything else is through the city.
When the shelter was damaged in October the insurance adjuster estimated the cost of the damages to be $22,180. There was a $5,000 deductible so the county received a total of $17,180 in two separate checks. One Nov. 30 for $11,557 and a second one May 30 for $5,623.
The facility is something the board has no desire to deal with. If anything it is treated as a red-headed stepchild. Beat 5 Supervisor Calvin Newsom said Monday the county got out of the dog business. Green said he was all for shutting it down, and Board President Tony Morgan said as far as he is concerned the city can have it.
The supervisors say one of their issues they have is the shelter allegedly will not take animals from the county. Danielle Barber, a part-time animal control officer, said about 90% of the dogs surrendered are from the county.
What do the facts say? Looking at the intake sheets from July 2019 until present, city residents have surrendered more than 25 animals, whereas county residents have dropped off more than 102 animals in the same time frame. Not included in the county numbers are the additional 34 dogs that were received from a seizure order on Pickwick Road.
Repairs to the center have been slow if non-existent. Four months after two separate individuals made a plea about the attic fans needing replacement last September, the fans were donated and installed at no cost to the county.
The cost of the roof was $10,317, which means the county had an additional $1,240 from the first check to do additional repairs to the shelter. Barber said she was told the hold up on the repairs on the inside was because Eugene Ryals, who handles the county maintenance, has been unable to get prison trustees because of the coronavirus and cannot do the work alone, which is understandable.
At the meeting Monday, Barber was told by the supervisors that they did not believe the insurance covered the inside because something was already wrong with the ceiling. If that was so, why had the issue not been addressed already by the county?
When the county's insurance agent spoke to the board on Tuesday, he said the work was approved by the insurance company and the county received the additional money for it. That means the county had an additional $6,863 to handle repairs to the facility.
Once the board realized it was covered, the supervisors all agreed on Tuesday the work needs to be done then. Should not the board have been more aware of the claim and what all it paid and when?
I understand supervisors on the board feel like there are more important things that need their attention, such as road and bridge work, and they are trying their best in that area.
But it seems to me because dealing with the animal shelter is something they do not like to do, they hope if they ignore it, it will just go away.
Susan Amundson is managing editor of The Columbian-Progress. She may be reached at (601) 736-2611.