Commissioners approved an overall $125 million budget for fiscal year 2015 last week that includes staff-recommended funding for one full-time and two part-time kennel technicians at the Paulding animal shelter.
The full-time position will be solely dedicated to promoting adoptions, working with rescue groups and assisting volunteers with events featuring its animals outside the county facility, said Capt. LeAnn LeHolm of the Paulding County Marshal’s Bureau, which oversees the shelter.
Shelter policy previously did not allow its animals to be offered for adoption unless a county animal control department worker was present. The county government legally owns the animals until adopted and was liable for injuries they may give residents attending the events, LeHolm said.
The new position will provide the new technician for volunteer-organized events, she said.
LeHolm said she was unsure how soon the new employee would be hired because the county must advertise the position and find someone who meets the qualifications.
The budgeted funds also will pay for spay and neuter procedures done by a specified list of area veterinarians to provide free of charge to those adopting animals from the shelter, LeHolm said.
The shelter’s aged facility on Industrial Boulevard North in Dallas does not include a ventilation system capable of halting the spread of some animal diseases. As a result, such medical procedures as spaying and neutering cannot be done in the building without a high risk of infection, she said.
Veterinarians reportedly typically charge $100 and up for the procedures depending on the size and age of the animal, according to sources. Private donations currently allow Paulding shelter officials to give vouchers covering only $20 of the cost of spaying and neutering, LeHolm said.
County officials now must get agreement on new contracts from its veterinary providers before determining a date to begin offering the program, she said.
The changes came after calls from groups, including No Kill Paulding, for more county efforts to encourage adoptions and communicate with local animal advocacy volunteers. No Kill Paulding reportedly sent commissioners a petition containing 1,500 signatures seeking the actions.
Paulding animal advocate Mandie Brauer said she was happy with the commission’s work.
However, she said “the proof is in the pudding” if they help increase the adoption rate and coordinate the efforts of the county and volunteer groups.
“It’s a step in the right direction.” she said.
Commission Chairman David Austin said before last week’s vote county officials provided as much extra funding as possible without affecting the overall budget. Commissioners rolled back the property tax rate from 8.22 mills to 7.267 to provide the same amount of revenue as 2014.
“Hopefully, we’ll have changes [animal advocates] like,” Austin said.