Atlanta Humane gives up animal control

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2003–


ATLANTA–The Atlanta Humane Society, managing the Fulton
County Animal Control shelter as well as its own facilities since
1974, on March 20 returned animal control duties to the county.
After rejecting bids on the animal control contract from the
Southern Hope Humane Society of Cobb County and a newly formed
for-profit company called Synergy Management Services, deputy county
manager Terry Todd reached an 11-day temporary agreement with
Southern Hope at 5:40 p.m. on March 20, and agreed to buy $350,000
worth of animal control equipment from Atlanta Humane.
“A panel of county staff recommended Synergy Management” as
the preferred new longterm animal control provider, wrote Ty Tagami
of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Synergy Management “promis-ed a
smooth transition by hiring the Atlanta Humane pound director,”
Tagami said.

According to Tagami, the longtime partnership of Atlanta
Humane and Fulton county fell apart because “Atlanta Humane was
killing 80% of the animals that came in the door, and county
officials, bothered by complaints from animal advocates, decided
last year to write new animal protection requirements into the
contract,” which had been unchanged since 1982.
“Fulton County declined to negotiate with Atlanta Humane,”
Tagami elaborated, “after Atlanta Humane executive director Bill
Garrett and board chair Bill Summerlin on December 4 requested a
$500,000 increase to their $2,005,000 base budget. Combined with
income from licensure and impoundment fees, that would have boosted
the animal control budget to nearly $3 million a year. Fulton county
responded on December 17 that it planned to look for new management.”
Responded Atlanta Humane in a written statement, “For more
than several years, the county has been furnished information that
the Fulton County facilities are aging badly, breaking down and in
desperate need of replacement. Fulton County has been notified that
there would come a time when the Atlanta Humane Society could no
longer accept substandard facilities.
“Atlanta Humane has also notified the county,” the statement
said, “that reimbursements for animal control expense would have to
be sufficient to cover expenditures, as the Society could no longer
subsidize a government function. Several years ago the Society wrote
off a loss of more than a quarter million dollars in uncollected
reimbursements,” and in 2000-2001 reimbursements of “more than
$65,000” had not been paid.
Since 1974, when Garrett’s tenure began, animal control
killing in Atlanta has fallen from more than 30,000/year to about
11,000/year, while the human population of Fulton County has more
than doubled.

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