Carter Co. Commission recommends animal shelter become non-profit


ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – Carter Co. commissioners voted to recommend the county’s animal shelter transition from a government-funded agency into a non-profit organization with community and government support.

A portion of the four-hour meeting was spent hearing from Johnson City commissioner (and former mayor) Jenny Brock who serves as the president of the board for Johnson City Washington Co. Animal Shelter and its director, Tammy Davis, to learn how that non-profit shelter operates with support from local government.

“When we finally are starting to get things in a better situation, COVID hit,” said commissioner Kelly Collins who serves on the animal shelter board. “I’m not going to speak for the whole animal shelter of course but I’m not 100% against a 501(c)3 but I think right now with the pandemic and COVID… it’s just not good timing.”

The commission also reviewed a presentation from the Financial Management committee chair about other shelters that operate as a non-profit.

There was grave concern about the shelter answering to multiple boards.

“Government is incapable of doing this properly because of the exact argument that we’re here for right now,” said commissioner Mark Blevins. “Everybody is all at their throats over a stinking animal shelter.”

In the end – the county commission voted 19 to 5 to recommend that the Carter County Animal Shelter become a non-profit organization in the next 16 months.

The resolution calls for the county to provide a minimum funding of $225,000.

The City of Elizabethton and the animal shelter board have yet to weigh in…something Elizabethton’s mayor says needs to happen.

“The people I do business with I don’t go vote on something then talk to them later,” said Elizabethton Mayor Curt Alexander. “I think this is something that probably should be brought to the city to see how we can work together on this.”

County commissioners also voted move more than $15,000 out of the sheriff’s department budget for animal control to pay the salary of a dog catcher to work for the shelter for the remainder of the fiscal year.

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