Proposal could shift control of Tuscaloosa animal shelter

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Too many animals are being put down, and that’s one of the primary complaints that the Tuscaloosa County commissioners are hearing.

Now, a proposal is on the table that could shift control of the shelter.

The new proposal could provide a natural transition. Detention officers are accustomed to dealing with populations behind bars. That’s the motion on the commission’s table.

The proposal is to terminate the county’s contract with Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter and turn control over to the sheriff’s office.

The proposal was made in response to complaints from citizens.

“You would have an officer in control,” Commissioner Jerry Tingle said. “An officer responsible. And you would have a chain of command, up and down the line.”

Shelter workers know about the complaints, but they say in some situations, their hands are tied.

“That’s what generates concern, some of the lock of options available,” said Jennifer Earp, the operations manager at the shelter.

If the shelter’s contract is terminated, inmates could also be put to work at the shelter, which currently employs 16 people. Some employees have been with the shelter for decades.

“I just want anyone to come down to the shelter to see how we’ve improved over the years,” Earp said.

CBS42 took Earp up on her invitation and visited the recently renovated shelter.

If the proposal goes through and the sheriff’s office takes over, even more changes will be coming.

However, before the contract with the Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter can be terminated, the cities of Tuscaloosa and Northport also have to weigh in on the proposal.

The shelter will be put on notice by June 1.

2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

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