County Dissolves Contract With Current Animal Shelter, Citizens' Group Looks To Form Local Humane Society
Darren Doyle, story and photos
Edmonson County Judge Executive Wil Cannon asked for a motion to cancel the county's animal shelter/animal control officer contract with Kim and Greg Carroll at today's fiscal court meeting. The motion was made by Mag. Mark Woosley and seconded by Mag. Joe Durbin. The vote was unanimous.
Several citizens were present at today's meeting, but to much surprise, there were no fireworks or major excitement in the talks. The discussion was focused on how to remedy the county's problem rather than pointing fingers or placing blame.
Judge Cannon first asked the Carrolls' attorney, Gary Logsdon, who was present on his clients' behalf, if there could be a mutual dissolution to the contract, to which Logsdon said there was not. Logsdon said that he needed to do more research in order for him to be able to properly advise his clients as to the best decision to make. He said his clients wanted to be fully cooperative with the court.
It was then that Judge Cannon read the entire contract to the court and explained that the Carrolls had breached the contract by not upholding the requirements within. The contract also stated that either party could terminate the $30K per year agreement if the other had violated the agreement, which Cannon said was the case here.
Judge Cannon then paused the animal shelter discussion in order for the court to handle normal fiscal business, but re-opened the discussion after the official meeting was over. Most everyone in attendance stayed for the group discussion.
Kitty Houchin, a resident of Carder Street in Brownsville, spoke on behalf of a group of citizens that are in the process of forming "Edmonson County Paws," the county's first organized humane society.
"We're trying to take all the hate, discontent, and everyone that's mad, and focus that in a positive force going forward from today," she said.
Cannon reminded the group that the main reason for signing an agreement with the Carrolls was that they were the only ones to submit a bid since 2008. Mrs. Houchin said she felt like there was at least one reason for that.
"We certainly understand that, but some of the complaints I've been hearing is that no one else would bid on it because there was no clear direction on what it would take." She said she didn't know that the state law actually defined it clearly. Issues such as land or facility requirements were gray areas.
Cannon agreed. "There's not enough definition on that, that's for sure," he said.
Judge Cannon also noted that he had received several calls and held meetings with several residents over the past couple weeks discussing a humane society while offering a host of other complaints and suggestions. "I invited them all to this meeting today, but I don't see them here."
Mrs. Houchin reiterated that the focus of Edmonson County Paws was to help find a solution. "We appreciate your efforts thus far," she said to Cannon. "We're here to work with you, not against you as an extension of fiscal court."
Joe Daugherty, a resident of Pig and a former county dog warden, said he also wanted to help. "I'd love to step into the dog warden position either on a temporary or permanent basis," he said. "This is something that needs people with compassion and love to take care of," he added, to which the crowd applauded.
Daugherty said he also felt like there needed to be stricter county ordinances on dogs along with spay and neuter laws.
Judge Cannon disagreed. "We don't need new ordinances or laws, we need to enforce the ones we already have, and we need an animal control officer that's available when they're needed."
Cannon also said that a dog warden would be unnecessary until there was a facility in which to house the dogs.
Lorri Hare, Executive Director of the Bowling Green/Warren County Humane Society, spoke to the group and said that there had been some suggestions a possibility for the BG/WC Society to take on Edmonson County's contract. "The answer isn't for Warren County to take over the surrounding county contracts," she said. "It's for us to come in and help Edmonson County (and others) to develop a better program."
She said her organization would gladly help Edmonson County on a interim basis but the ultimate goal should be for the WC humane society to be a support group for an Edmonson County organization. "It's just a matter of getting the right people involved and we're willing to help. Our board meeting is tomorrow. We've agreed that if Edmonson County finds the right dog warden temporarily, we've already agreed to take those animals. We want to encourage Edmonson County citizens that if they're missing an animal, they need to come look for it at our shelter."
She said she has offered help to the Carrolls numerous times but they refused. "This has been a horrific ordeal for many animals at that shelter," she said. I could keep you here for another 24 hours telling similar stories."
She said that she wouldn't offer her organization's help if the Carrolls were still involved. "That's not to take anything away from them as people, but I've been trying to help them for three years. It isn't going to happen. We're very glad those doors are closed. I wish nothing ill on them, but they don't need to be in the animal business."
Attempts to reach the Carrolls for comment today were not immediately returned. Kim Carroll told us last Monday that she was advised not to comment on the shelter's closing without her attorney present. She also said she wanted to sit down with us as soon as possible and tell her side of the story.
Magistrate Mark Woosley suggested that a portion of the 14 acre tract in the process of being donated to the Rocky Hill Fire Department could be a viable location for a new county animal shelter at some point in the future. Several in attendance agreed that it was unlikely for the fire department to utilize all 14 acres in the event that the department even developed the tract, and that at least looking into the idea was favorable. Most county fire departments are each using one acre or less on which to operate their departments.
Cannon said that a search for a new animal control officer would be in effect immediately and that a decision would hopefully be made at the next fiscal court meeting on Monday, June 27, 2016.