Calhoun County Commission prepares to take over animal shelter

Calhoun County Commission prepares to take over animal shelter
Calhoun County Animal Control Center. (Source: WBRC video) (WBRC Staff)

CALHOUN COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Calhoun County will retake control of its animal shelter Friday, March 1, and will close it for up to two weeks.

At the county commission meeting Thursday morning, commissioners introduced the county’s new animal control director Chris Westmoreland, who previously worked in Cullman County.

Westmoreland says over the next couple of weeks, the shelter will be closed for renovations.

He says animals will only be accepted for emergencies until it can reopen, possibly at a public open house event.

“We’re going to do some renovations, some cleaning, trying to make it a better flowing facility,” Westmoreland said. “In order to get that done, we’d like to limit the intakes, possibly to just emergency situations. That way we can get all the work done and get it done as quickly as possible.”

Calhoun County owns the building in which Cheaha Regional Humane Society has operated for the past few years. Prior to that, the commission itself operated the shelter, then contracted with Cheaha after controversy over how the county had run it the first time.

Westmoreland says one of his top priorities is to establish a network of rescues.

“Instead of all the rescues working against one another, we can all work together and try and get as many animals adopted and rescued as possible, to cut the euthanasia rate down,” Westmoreland added.

There has been controversy about the county commission’s plan to cancel Cheaha Regional Humane Society’s contract to run the shelter in the county-owned building.

Westmoreland says the two agencies are working together on a transition to remove Cheaha’s equipment from the shelter. There is also an agreement to make sure the remaining animals are situated.

Cheaha has sent most of its animals to rescues across the country and chairperson Jane Cunningham says a few were even adopted Thursday.

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