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Baker: County to get serious about animal shelter

By Sherri Ellington A county goal for 2014 is to study the feasibility of having its own animal control shelter. Commissioner Van Baker is to head up the project. The commitment was made after Joyce Farmer of the Humane Society reminded commissioners of three animal cruelty cases that had come before them in the past. ’Animal cruelty is a felony but they all got off with slaps on the wrist,’ said Farmer. ‘Why can’t they be prosecuted as felonies? Nobody is doing anything.’ She also referred to the ongoing dogfighting case, asking for help from commissioners, District Attorney Richard Milam and the community to ensure that case is prosecuted fully. Farmer then called for a county dog pound, asking if Special Purpose Local Option Sales Taxes could be used to build one. ’There are animals at the pound that are good, well-behaved animals,’ said fellow volunteer Beverly Eskridge. ‘We’re making progress but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are more animals out there than we can take.’ Chairman Jay Matthews announced the formation of the committee. ’We’d like to use the term no-kill but unfortunately that’s not the reality,’ Matthews said. Baker, who had originally called for a no-kill shelter in the five year work plan update, noted it would be a very expensive proposition and asked for committee volunteers. ’We’re going to get cranked up after the first of the year and see what we can do,’ said Baker. ‘It’s something that can only be a positive for our community.’ The county also: ’¢ Approved a solid waste hazard site inventory resolution which will allow solid waste director Johnny Poore to continue with the landfill reclamation project. A grant will be applied for from the Environmental Protection Division hazardous trust fund. ’¢ Heard a GEMA grant has been approved for $33,279 for additional storm warning sirens to be placed at the Parker Branch and Johnstonville fire stations. Also discussed were ways to improve membership in the Code Red reverse 911 call system from 22% of all eligible phone owners in the county. While it is free to citizens, the county pays for the service on their behalf. ’¢ Reappointed Irvin Trice to the Three Rivers Regional Commission council and Roger Hollandsworth to the board of assessors. ’¢ Heard the LMIG list will include Crawford Road and Old Highway 36 from the Barnesville city limits to the bypass. The Department of Transportation will provide $287,003 of the $373,105 project. The list is due to the state on Jan. 1. In a separate project, test rumble strips will be added to dangerous areas of Johnstonville Road. ’¢ Acknowledged the resignation of Alice Ramseur as a Republican representative on the board of elections and the appointment of Harold Jackson in her stead; and the resignation of Mike Brutz from the library board and his replacement by Lisa Tuttle. ’¢ Heard about progress on the county firing range and the construction of internet towers for the county web system. ’¢ Approved four beer and wine pouring licenses and four package licenses, with member Benny Horton recusing himself from the vote for Horton’s Rendezvous. ’¢ Discussed getting a moveable radar sign for the sheriff’s office, putting a $4,000 limit on the purchase. ’¢ Heard a report on the proposed purchase of the Lamar County Activity Center site would be ready sometime in 2014. ’¢ Called a closed session to discuss personnel, litigation and real estate.

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