Mayor Steve Sweeney said the city has a leash law and the county helps pick up stray dogs, but that doesn't address the feline problems that the city is experiencing now.
"Abandoned cats are a significant city concern now. We get a lot of complaints about stray cats," Sweeney said.
Kelly said state law says that each county government is responsible for employing, appointing or contracting an animal control officer and creating a satisfactory animal shelter, or contract with another county for service.
Kelly said the county does not have an adequate facility. Dogs are kept in a 10- by 20-foot pen on top of a 6-foot concrete slab surrounded by a chain-link fence. It has a roof and is located on the dog warden's property. There are no walls to separate the animals, no quarantine area nor heat.
When pet owners lose an animal, they do not know how to contact the dog warden to check to see if he has their pet confined in the pen, said Kelly. The shelter hours should be posted in the newspaper, he said.
Cost estimated at $200,000
The Animal Rescue organization estimates it will cost more than $200,000 to construct a 75- by 75-foot metal building anchored on a concrete slab. The building would have a forced air temperature control system with two venting systems for quarantine rooms. The facility would include a water and sewer system and utilities.
State guidelines would be followed for holding areas to separate male and female animals, for ill animals, quarantine areas, heated holding areas, and kennel runs and cages.
The interior would have 24 dog runs with covers, quarantine area for dogs and cats, holding rooms for cats, shower stalls, administrative area, exam rooms and a water system. Kelly estimates construction to cost $203,225 plus another $31,000 for a vehicle and $78,700 for fiscal animal control.
Fiscal Court has $11,550 in the budget for dog warden Ricky Luttrell's salary, and contracts with other counties for veterinary service and miscellaneous items.
Kelly said 73 county residents of the 180 contacted about CARE have expressed interest in working with him.
A petition also is circulating around the county to see if people are interested in having a humane shelter. He hopes to get 2,000 signatures.