Local minds have been engrossed in thought over the dogs and cats of Fayette County. We all know dogs and cats without owners become the wards of the county. Those animals are placed in the custody of the county.
Our ancient ancestors domesticated the wild beasts and the kinship with dogs and cats began. While most of those early domesticated “pets” were affectionate towards their human masters, the animals helped the families survive by hunting, herding, hauling, protecting and ridding areas of harmful vermin.
Unlike animals of the wild, we have cultivated and tamed the survival abilities out of most breeds of dogs and cats. In years past, unwanted dogs and cats were slaughtered in significant numbers.
Today, we are grappling with how to address these animal in the custody of the county with more compassion and a moral perspective, including new approaches and techniques proven to lower unwanted animal populations and increase adoptions in other communities.
The Animal Shelter and what occurs within its walls is a reflection of the citizens of Fayette County. The citizens own the Animal Shelter.
We, like our lovable quadrupeds, are beings of nature, subjected to natural forces. In spite of this, humans are on the periphery of nature.
Humans have moral consciousness, most do anyway. The human world is rooted in the natural order, but not capable of being reduced to it. Much is expected from rising above the rest of the natural world.
All humans recognize expectations, appreciate order and acknowledge that agreements are to be honored. Obviously, if this was not the case, the result would be disorder and turmoil.
There is real freedom in taking responsibility for your actions, something the animal world does not possess.
Political order relies upon the consent of the citizens. If elected officials do not live up to their promises and expectations, not honoring the reciprocal compact between the government and the citizens, then they have abused the privilege of office. Consequently, government becomes a threat to itself.
I have previously expressed great disappointment with my colleagues on the Board of Commissioners, especially Commissioners Ognio and Oddo who have suggested that there are two sets of rules. One set of rules for them and another set for anyone raising an issue with which they disagree.
The past meeting minutes clearly reflect that neither Commissioners Ognio nor Oddo adhere to the unwritten, made-up rules they try to force on others when they have clamored for action regarding our ordinances. They are having a difficult time explaining why they did not have to follow their fictitious policies.
They have taken a proposal connected to the animals inside the county’s shelter which has received overwhelming support from the citizen-taxpayers and crushed the expectations, set aside our moral obligations and caused a significant amount of public turmoil.
Commissioner Ognio has concocted so many contradictory excuses for his actions at this point that the citizens can see right through him. We could do better by the animals in the county government’s custody, but the proposals have been blocked by underhanded tactics. There has never been an animal shelter expansion in the Humane Society proposal, Commissioner Ognio knows this as he has received copies of the draft ordinances since March 2017, but he continues to lead the news media astray by referring to shelter expansions and the budget in interviews.
In a July 26 letter to the editor, Ognio says, “The issue was process, not merit of ideas. The former was corrected. The latter will still be considered.” Keep in mind this is the same Commissioner Ognio who emailed a concerned citizen on four days prior saying, “Let’s not waste taxpayer money on something that has no chance of passing,” (Randy Ognio to Philip Doolittle, July 22, Subject: Your letter in the Citizen). It is truly insincere, dishonest and deceitful.
Hundreds show-up in favor at every meeting and the only negative comments come from those sitting in the lofty chairs under your county’s seal.
The men, women and children of Fayette County need to demonstrate to our government officials at the 6:30 p.m., Aug. 10 Board of Commissioners meeting that they will not go away (one of the most passionate pleas at our meetings was given by a middle school student). If there is an opportunity to treat the animals in the county facility better and create new citizen-involved programs that help spay and neuter more local animals, get more animals adopted and by all means kill fewer dogs and cats at almost no more cost than is currently budgeted, then we should be doing it.
There will be an agenda item at the Aug. 10 meeting asking the commissioners to reverse their previous vote to not allow county staff to work with the Humane Society and other animal advocates on revising the county’s animal ordinances. It’s the right thing to do and please come show your support.
The Humane Society and all the citizen volunteers at our animal shelter are demanding that we establish a Citizen Animal Shelter Advisory Board and allow more animal advocates to get involved and work to get more animals adopted and more volunteers recruited. That’s a big bang for no bucks.
Every citizen I have spoken to clearly understands that these proposals are not complicated and they deserve the same respect and the same attention that the proposals Commissioners Ognio and Oddo offer on issues they support. Stop the double standards and stop placing the dogs and cats in the county’s custody needlessly at-risk with reckless behavior.
I will see you at the Aug. 10 Board of Commissioners meeting.
Steve Brown, Commissioner
Fayette County Board of Commissioners
Peachtree City, Ga.