Fayette rebuffs animal advocates again

Fayette rebuffs animal advocates again

A majority of the Fayette County Commission still opposes what a determined group of animal advocates wants: Formal input into how the county makes rules and policies dealing with stray animals housed at the county animal shelter.


Above, this dog house was positioned outside the meeting chambers of the Fayette County Commission on Sept. 28 as animal advocates inside the building asked that an animal shelter advisory board be established. Photo/Ben Nelms.


Motions at the Sept. 28 meeting to have county staff work with animal groups on issues such as an ordinance revision and another forming a task force to work on animal welfare concerns failed on 2-3 votes.

Commissioner Steve Brown made a motion to allow county staff to work with citizens on animal welfare-related issues including, but not limited to, ordinance revisions. The second came from Commissioner Charles Rousseau.

The motion failed on a 2-3 vote, with commissioners Chuck Oddo, Randy Ognio and Chairman Eric Maxwell opposed.

Rousseau followed with another motion for the development and implementation of an animal welfare task force to work on a comprehensive plan that would include processes and procedures related to animal welfare concerns for Fayette County. Brown provide the second to the motion.

That motion also failed on a 2-3 vote, with commissioners voting the same way as before.

There were no other motions.

From left, Fayette County commissioners Randy Ognio, Steve Brown and Charles Rousseau. File photo.
From left, Fayette County commissioners Randy Ognio, Steve Brown and Charles Rousseau. File photo.

Brown during the discussion prior to the vote complimented the work of the humane society and animal advocates.

“That audience has nothing to prove,” Brown said during his assessment of their work and volunteer efforts. “I would love to see them involved in this process.”

Commissioner Chales Rousseau in his comments noted that some of the proceeding gave the implication that there is not collaborative work between county staff and animal advocates being done.

“And it is. That’s how we’ve gotten to this point,” Rousseau said. “That’s why we’re close to a no-kill status … because of you all, working collectively with the animal shelter.”

He said there are revisions taking place, there is a task force, there are conversations taking place to “get us to a better level of where we need to be,” while acknowledging that there are areas of the operation where Fayette is behind where it should be.

“We’re piecing it together and we’re spending a lot of money,” Rousseau said.

Fayette County Manager Steve Rapson in file photo.
Fayette County Manager Steve Rapson in file photo.

County Administrator Steve Rapson said some of the information coming out of the meetings between the animal shelter and animal advocates could become part of a subsequent ordinance.

Chairman Eric Maxwell reiterated, as he has done in the past, that the vote was not the last step dealing with the animal shelter.

Prior to the board’s action there were six people speaking in favor of the request.

Animal advocates asked that commissioners allow county staff to work with citizens on animal welfare issues, grant approval for the development and implementation of an animal welfare task force to work on a comprehensive plan related to the shelter and grant approval for an animal welfare advisory board that would assist with the establishment of animal welfare best practices in the county.