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Lyons Shelter Committee Holds First Meeting
Thursday, 03 February 2011

February 3--  The city of Lyons is moving on its promise to examine operation of the city's animal shelter.

After an overflow crowd attended Tuesday night's city council meeting in protest of the mass killing of dogs at the shelter, a committee named to avoid such situations in the future held its first meeting Thursday night at Lyons city hall.

The group includes Therisa Ingley and Dr. Reid McArthur from the Sweet Onion Animal Protection Society, Toombs County commissioner Skeeter Toole, Lyons citizen Brenda Kordzikowski, Lyons Public Works Director Darel Corley, and Lyons council members Willis NeeSmith and Wayne Hartley, who is chairing the committee.

"Our goal is to try to have the best outcome for the animals.  We want to solicit help with adoptions, educate the public on the need for spaying and neutering and taking care of pets to try in the long term reduce this abandoned animal problem which we see," Hartley said.

The committee discussed a wide range of issues at its first meeting including improved staffing of the shelter, adoption of new forms to account for shelter animals, revised policies on how long animals will be kept at the shelter, and under what circumstances and by whom will euthanizations be done.

Over three-fourths of the dogs held at the shelter last year were brought in by the county, however, the county is paying just over a tenth of the shelter's operating costs.  Hartley says that's something that needs to be addressed with the Toombs County Commission.

In the long term, the committee discussed the possibility of a consolidated animal shelter to serve Lyons, Vidalia and Toombs County.  Therisa Ingley said the best solution would be a joint facility including one side where dogs are brought and held initially by animal control and another side operated by SOAPS where animals are cared for until they can be adopted.

The committee is also considering encouraging local governments to adopt mandatory spaying and neutering laws.

The committee plans to meet again Monday.

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