For all of the county residents concerns for animals, you would think a new shelter, paid for with $3 million in special purpose local option sales tax funds, would be a slam dunk no matter the location of the new facility. That thought would be wrong. As expected, the site chosen by the citizens committee -- property already owned by the county that has sat vacant for 18 years -- has drawn some opposition.
Residents of the Fulton Mill Road area, although only a couple live near the tract of land being considered, met with county commission members Monday. They were, of course, concerned with property values, noise and cleanliness. That residents of the area would have a Not In My Backyard mentality was to be expected. Before Warner Robins settled on a site for its animal shelter, several sites were approved only to draw resistance and rethinking.
Seems we all know the shelters present location near the dump is far from ideal, we can now understand why it was chosen. The only opposition came from the critters that occupied the area.
The use of county-owned land is the only efficient way to go. Believe it or not, if examples from other communities hold water, $3 million will only build a shelter that can house about 100 animals. According to estimates, the shelter would handle from 3,600 to 4,000 animals annually. That means the new shelter would have to process 300 to 333 animals a month.
The new shelter, unfortunately, will be overcrowded the day it opens. Its up to this community to decide whether it can address the problem, not by building bigger facilities but by an effective, consistent spay and neuter program. We cannot build ourselves out of an animal control problem. Its not the dogs and cats that are the problems, it is us.
-- Editorial Board