Community members and animal advocates from across the world want change in the management and operations of the Rhea County Animal Shelter.
The current management is not taking measures to make this an adoption friendly facility. A full time volunteer who has worked almost a year at the shelter making it one of the most successful shelters in the area and maybe even in the state, was recently "fired" . This volunteer was available almost 24 hours a day 7 days a week to adopt out the animals, answer questions and complete intakes. Under his leadership, the shelter had no adoptable animals euthanized since May. He worked tirelessly to find homes, fosters and rescues for these animals. All of this was done on a volunteer basis and he asked for nothing in return. He was dismissed because of his response to a threatening situation even though there were 2 witnesses that support his defense to the situation leading up to his dismissal.
Currently the only hours of operation for the shelter is 8 to 4 pm Monday through Friday. The Animal Control Officer, which is the only paid employee, is not there most of that time because he is out taking care of his other duties. There is no one there to answer or return phone calls, contact rescues, adopt out the animals, take pictures of the animals and post them or advertise. The shelter has had a very bad reputation in the past and unless changes are made, it will return to that state.
We the Community and Animal Advocates from around the world are requesting that the Rhea County Officials form an independent committee to take over all control of the shelter. This committee should not include the current management. Procedures should be developed and put in place by this committee that are both community and animal friendly to allow this shelter to succeed. It's goal should be to become a No Kill shelter. It should have an easier process for allowing volunteers to help and it should establish methods for more community awareness. Other issues should be addressed as well. We would also like for the previous volunteer to be reinstated becaus of his success at the shelter and his love for the animals. Its what is best for the animals that are brought in to this shelter and it is best for the community. Our concern is for the safety and lives of the animals.
We understand that some steps were taken to have the shelter open for a few hours on the weekends, but that was taken away. We thank you for the short time it existed. Still more changes are needed to give the animals the best chance of living a long happy life. These changes can be made for free; it is not a strain on the county or tax payer.
We want you to be aware of the number of people requesting and hoping for change. Please hear our voices and allow FORCA to make Rhea County Shelter a model shelter for others to follow.