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Commissioners squash committee exploring spay/neuter policy
 

By David Bodenheimer
The Dispatch

Published: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 10:36 p.m.

 

A committee to explore a possible spay/neuter ordinance in the county was crushed Tuesday night by the Davidson County Board of Commissioners.

 

The board voted 5-2 not to reconvene a committee that explored such an ordinance in 2006. Commissioners Billy Joe Kepley, Don Truell, Cathy Dunn, Larry Potts and board chairman Sam Watford all voted against allowing the committee to move forward.

 

Commissioner Fred McClure led the conversation about recalling a committee to help the county shrink the population at the county's animal shelter. McClure suggested such an ordinance could slash the population by as much as half

.

McClure was to have served on the committee as a nonvoting member. After his motion failed, he asked commissioners if their vote would change if he would excuse himself from the committee altogether. Commissioners expressed that having him on such a committee wouldn't make a difference in their votes

.

Commissioners have taken heat lately from residents concerned with the county's continued use of a gas chamber as a form of animal euthanasia. The county also uses lethal injection to euthanize animals Last year, the county euthanized nearly 7,000 animals.

 

Residents have pleaded with the board to end use of the gas chamber and reduce the shelter population.

 

McClure argued such an ordinance would be a step in the right direction, but his colleagues disagreed. Commissioners cited issues of enforcement and the fact the ordinance received overwhelming public opposition when it was discussed in 2006.

 

Watford suggested commissioners turn their attention back to the animal shelter and away from ordinances.

 

"We're back to the animal shelter and progressing on it," Watford said. "This (committee) was an offshoot of the animal shelter issue and we're going to stay at it. We're behind everyone else and the numbers are just sickening, nobody is arguing that."

 

Tina York, an outspoken advocate for change at the animal shelter and a member of Humane Citizens of Davidson County, said she was a little disappointed in the commissioner's decision not to explore options at the shelter. During a public address section of the meeting, York suggested the county explore low-cost spay/neuter clinics

.

"We have to have something something available for people to get their animals fixed at a reasonable rate," York said.

 

McClure said such an idea for a clinic was an interesting suggestion and one he felt like a committee could have discussed further. He called the decision his colleagues made not to support a conversation about spay/neuter policies in the county "a step backward."

 

"I think we missed a lot of good ideas," McClure said. "The excuses that were made the fact that you can't enforce it, that it doesn't work, all those things have been proven wrong. The spay and neuter clinic we could have talked about that idea. The people of the county have said they want to see something different than what we're now and I think this was an effort to get something started and to show the board of commissioners was concerned."

 

David Bodenheimer can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 227, or at david.bodenheimer@the-dispatch.com.


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