Citizens want, deserve input on animal shelter policies

For some reason, the other Fayette commissioners have changed the dynamics of the animal shelter argument.

This is not an “our hands are tied and there’s nothing we can do” kind of argument. The Humane Society and other animal advocacy groups are asking for simple, straightforward changes to make county government’s practices more humane, less arbitrary, more inclusive and more productive.

A better policy, improved ordinances and a Citizen Animal Shelter Advisory Board have virtually no impact on the budget at all. And that’s what citizens are demanding.

Historically, the county has shunned the citizen-taxpayers regarding input on how to make things markedly better at the shelter. It’s well beyond time to change that. Don’t kill the dogs and cats if there is a way not to do so, especially if there is not much of an additional cost involved.

If the county government feels strongly enough about citizen input as to create a Citizen Library Board, surely everyone can see the value of citizen input related to the care, adoption and possible execution of these dogs and cats.

Many Fayette County citizens believe, and I agree, that if you do not allow the citizen-taxpayers to have more of an active role like they have with the library, recreation, land planning, water utility, business development, etc., that you are practicing “execution” of animals and not euthanasia.

Euthanasia is a mercy death, but there is nothing merciful about being so stubborn as to not include the citizens and not improving the working procedures of the shelter when the taxpayers who own the shelter are demanding it. To me, that is promoting willful executions and political malpractice.

When vindictiveness, spite and exclusionary mindsets seep into government practice, everyone loses. Not allowing the continuance of the proposed comprehensive changes to the animal ordinances and nullifying the presentation for a full vote in the public forum before a public audience is tantamount to turning the government’s back on its citizens and willfully executing animals that could be saved.

Yes, everyone loses.

Steve Brown, commissioner
Fayette County Board of Commissioners
Peachtree City, Ga.