Controversy surrounds Campbell County Animal Shelter

CAMPBELL COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Controversy is brewing in Campbell County as commissioners and the county animal shelter try to agree on a budget.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Campbell County Animal Shelter’s future remains unclear. The big issue now: time is running out. With less than 60 days left before the animal shelter and county’s multi-year agreement ends, both sides remain at odds.

“They had offered $225,000 per year,” said Campbell County Animal Shelter Director Patricia Siwinksi. “That’s not sustainable.”

For the past several years, the county commission has paid the animal shelter $149,568 to keep operations running and to take care of Campbell County’s animals. But just like everything else, the cost of supplies and everything else has increased.

“It’s never been sufficient. We’ve just been making it. It would be reckless for FCCA to enter into another contract knowing we cannot support the majority of the weight.”

Campbell County Animal Shelter Director Patricia Siwinksi

The animal shelter said it needs at least half a million dollars to stay afloat—with the county providing $400,000 and the shelter providing the rest. But Siwinski said even raising the $100,000 will be a challenge.

“That’s a lot of money to try to raise, fundraisers, get grants, donations but we’re willing to try and fundraise and meet that goal.”

Caught between the two groups is Campbell County Mayor EL Morton. According to Morton, the county continues supporting the shelter but is now faced with regrouping after receiving the shelter’s 90-day notice of intent not to renew. He told WATE county leaders are struggling to find additional funds or someone willing to operate the shelter on the $149,000 budget.

“We’re asking folks, basically, to bid,” Morton said. “We’re putting out a bid to see if there’s anyone interested in running our shelter for that amount of money.”

What happens if no agreement can be reached? Right now, that’s the half a million-dollar question.

WATE received a statement from the county commission that reads in part “Campbell County is in the negotiation process with FCCA and until final decisions have been made, the commission does not wish to make a statement.”

Morton said those negotiations are a good sign.

“We’re very proud of the relationship we’ve had with the FCAA. I’m encouraged by the statement from the commission that they intend to continue negotiations and potentially provide more revenue for a better funded shelter.”

The animal shelter said it is waiting to hear back from commissioners and are not sure when they will speak again. The shelter offers a wide variety of services including low-rate and free vaccinations, end of life services, and its Critter Cupboard operation, which helps families feed their pets.

Below is a snapshot of the animal shelter’s numbers when it comes to animals cared for (data courtesy of the Campbell County Animal Shelter):

  • 83 lost pets reunited with owners
  • 360 adoptions
  • 1,138 spayed/neutered farts
  • 2,173 animals transported to rescues
  • 16,000 pounds of pet food provided by Critter Cupboard to Campbell County families in need

You can find more data regarding the shelter’s operation costs below:

The county commission is expected to meet again on Monday, May 16.

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