Animal control in Bradley County is anything but under control after a change in command with the county-contracted shelter, raising questions over how animal control issues can be resolved.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has been providing those services for the county. But County Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones has resigned from the SPCA board, following the firing of shelter director Bobbi Anderson Thursday night.
Jones said she tried to clarify SPCA's open-intake policy and set a capacity for how many animals the facility can take. The shelter has repeatedly turned away animals because there is just no room.
Two dogs abandoned at a Somerset Drive home were turned away from Bradley County animal shelter earlier this month. Neighbors said the owner left the dogs there, so they fed the dogs by the house's fence.
"Once the person passed away or whatever, it just kind of became an eyesore. I don't know if anybody's done anything about it except try and keep these dogs alive," said Jaimee Connor, who helps rescue animals.
Connor said the control situation is complicated.
"I called the SPCA the other day and they can't take the dogs, they're full and they can't take anything and that's an issue," said Connor.
The debate just got hotter. County Commissioners met with SPCA Thursday night, and it ended with Anderson fired for insubordination. Jones said she didn't agree.
She sent me a statement saying, "There was no true evidence of insubordination by Bobbi Anderson. Any violations that were alleged were due solely to the inability to house more animals at SPCA."
Following the decision by the SPCA president Betti Gravelle to fire Anderson, Jones resigned from the board.
"My first question last night was, 'Who's going to run the shelter? It's like firing your captain in the middle of the ocean. You need somebody to get you to the next shore,'" said Commissioner Jeff Morelock, of the third district.
Morelock said it's been confusing about where the shelter is headed.
Documents from past meetings outline the approved contract with SPCA for just two paid employees and 911 response by the Bradley County Sheriff's Department. By April, the board voted Anderson as the shelter's director, and now the validity of her firing is under question.
Jones said "A nonprofit can't be run by the board president with a policy not clearly defined." She's now calling for Gravelle's resignation.
"I've said from day one that my hope is that one of these days we can have one shelter in Bradley County, run by the county, that's a no-kill facility and run economically," said Morelock. "At this point in time, we have a long ways to go to get to that point."
NewsChannel9's Briona Arradondo reached out the SPCA president Betti Gravelle for comment about her decision to fire Bobbi Anderson but didn't hear back from her in time for the newscast.
Commissioners who attended the meeting said there's a lot left to be solved, and Jones said she wants the residents best interests upheld.
The next SPCA meeting is set for September 2 at 5:30 p.m.By Briona Arradondo