NACA director advises council on shelter
By Kathleen Folkerth
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The building of a state-of-the-art animal control facility in Summit County won’t mean a thing if the county’s administrators and rescue groups can’t work together.
That was the viewpoint of Johnnie Mays, executive director of the National Animal Control Association (NACA), who appeared before Summit County Council Sept. 18 to review findings from the organization’s update of a 2004 analysis of the county’s animal control agency.
“I was disturbed by the level of conflict that exists in the community,” said Mays, who met with animal welfare proponents and observed the county facility during a week in late June. “It seems we share some common goals. I wonder if there’s some way, somehow we can sit in a room and just talk. How can we work together to move forward?”
Seated in the audience were several members of local animal-welfare groups as well as Christine Congrove, director of the county’s Animal Control and Shelter facility.
Mays told council that of 132
recommendations made two years ago, 62 had been fully
implemented and 37 partially
implemented. Of the 33 recommendations there had been
no progress on, 19 were eliminated from the list because
they could not be implemented due to facility or budget
limitations. The remaining 14 were cited as issues the
county needs to address.
“Sanitation levels and
animal care have greatly improved,” Mays said.
“The workers are doing the best job they can with
what they have.”
Mays said a new shelter is one
item he highly recommends.
“The current facility is
antiquated and not customer friendly,” Mays said
of the facility, located at 460 E. North St. “It’s
not the easiest facility to find.”
Council recently voted down a
proposal from County Executive James McCarthy that would
have designated 5 acres in Goodyear Heights Metro Park
for a new shelter. Concerns were raised that the site
was too close to a residential neighborhood.
Mays also recommended the county
look into licensing cats, since much of the shelter
is used to house felines.
“Cat licensing may be a
mechanism you can use to offset costs,” he said.
Following his presentation, all
council members asked Mays questions. Some wondered
how the county could increase
the number of pet owners who purchase licenses.
“You have to have an aggressive
program with enforcement, marketing and vet participation,”
Councilman Paul Gallagher (D-at
large) asked what the county should consider when looking
into building a new shelter. Mays suggested the county
find an architect who has experience in designing animal
Mays encouraged the county to
require that all animals adopted from the shelter be
spayed or neutered. He said many communities contract
with vets to provide the surgeries at a lower cost.
To ensure that animals get the surgery, some shelters
transport the animals to the vet, and the new owner
picks the animal up from the clinic.
In other business Monday, the
Planning, Buildings and Economic Development Committee
recommended council approve an amended resolution that
transfers nearly 67 acres of land in Tallmadge to the
As part of the agreement, the
county will forgive all past-due debt payments that
total almost $1.4 million on county bonds issued to
build the animal arena on the property, site of the
annual Summit County Fair.
Copley resident John Graf, representing
the fair board and Summit County Farm Bureau, said he
supports the resolution.
“A lot of people are behind
us on this,” Graf said.
Council is scheduled to meet
Sept. 25 at 5: 30 p.m. for caucus and 6 p.m. for the
council meeting in Council Chambers on the seventh floor
of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St.