With an increasing number of animal rescue groups forming in Columbia County, officials have decided to revamp an agreement with such groups and the county's Animal Care and Control department.
The county care and control facility in Appling is contracted with two rescue groups - the Columbia County Humane Society and Kanine Kids Inc.
At a recent meeting of the Animal Care and Control Advisory Board, a third rescue group - Happy Tails - inquired about entering into an agreement with the facility to foster and adopt out animals that go unadopted.
Pam Tucker, the county's Emergency Services Division director, said the request gave the county the opportunity to clean up its agreement with such groups and "make it a little better than it was.''
Tucker said the draft agreement revised at the meeting allows for two changes to the contract. One of those changes would allow Animal Care and Control employees to inspect foster homes and shelter facilities. She said that prevents rescue groups from keeping animals in overcrowded or unsanitary conditions, even though the county has not yet experienced any problems with that.
"We want to also have three people from these organizations to have authorization to come in and pick up animals for those organizations," Tucker said of the second change. "Remember, all this is free. They don't get charged anything. But (Animal Care and Control Director) Linda Fulmer has to have it where it is manageable ... It is just making it a better, or more comprehensive agreement."
The agreement will not be used immediately. It will go before county officials at the Community and Emergency Services Committee meeting Monday, and then before the county commission for final approval.
Tucker said that with Fulmer and Columbia County Humane Society President Donna Evans on the advisory board, she feels confident that the new agreement will be agreeable to all involved.
"We just want to make sure that it is all done best for the animals, is manageable for the staff and easy for the rescue groups," Tucker said.
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