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Rescue groups meet about animal control, facility

A group of concerned citizens and local animal rescuers met Sept. 23 to discuss the state of animal control in Pike County. Joy Walker, president of Friends of Pike County Animals, organized the meeting held in the law office of local attorney and long-time Pike resident Walker Chandler. Coco’s Cupboard is a 501©3 organization heavily involved in the care and feeding of stray and dumped animals. Coco’s volunteers Suzanne Aaron, Tammy Bentley, Lynda Ramseur and Jayne Midura reviewed a recent meeting between their organization and county manager John Hanson and animal control officer David Allen. The status of the new proposals for an animal control shelter was discussed. Sandra Bray, Linda England and Lisa Ramos offered many suggestions for the size and running of the proposed facility and spoke of issues of animal control in general based on their experiences in neighboring counties. Although Pike commissioners have approved a $15,000 budget for the past two years to fund a small shelter to house only vicious and dangerous dogs, the ad hoc committee agreed such a level of funding is inadequate and cannot provide the manpower or space to handle the wide-spread animal control problems that exist in Pike. Bray, who volunteers in Lamar County, which is of comparable size to Pike, said its facility started several years ago with 14 large runs. There are plans for expansion. She noted the necessity for having a small paddock for temporary penning of stray livestock. Joy Walker reminded the group blueprints for the Meriwether County shelter were secured and presented to commissioners several years ago by then-FPCA president Don Bailey. She said despite efforts by numerous citizens and organizations over the better part of a decade, very little has changed. Coco’s Cupboard members felt like their August meeting with Hanson and Allen was productive. All noted commissioners need to be prepared to expand their budget and plans for a much larger facility to comply with Georgia mandates that soon will require all counties to comply with state animal control standards. The group discussed raising private money to supplement the county budget so the proposed facility can be adequate, clean and properly equipped. Coco’s has started a building fund at United Bank that is strictly for funds to go towards an animal control facility. Anyone who would like to contribute to that fund, has fundraising ideas or would like to comment on the effort to secure animal control in Pike can contact Coco’s Cupboard at cocoscupboardinc.org, go to the Coco’s Cupboard Inc. Facebook page or call 404-721-COCO (404-721-2626).

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