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Morgan commission debates animal shelter

By Sheryl Marsh 340-2437

The tone of a Morgan County Commission meeting Tuesday echoed a trend throughout the country to provide decent housing for animals.

The commission met with Architect Fred Underwood to discuss designs for an animal shelter and an environmental services building.

Chairman John Glasscock wants to put both facilities at the Hartselle-Morgan County Industrial Park.

District 2 Commissioner Ken Livingston said he doesn't favor that arrangement. He said he doesn't have a problem with putting the garbage service there.

"I disagree with putting an animal shelter over there because it will defeat the purpose of getting animals adopted," Livingston said. "We need to make it more convenient for people to come to."

District 4 Commissioner Stacy George echoed Livingston, saying the commission should find another plot for the shelter.

Initially, Hartselle officials expressed concern that putting the facilities at the park would negatively affect federal funding for infrastructure, but Mayor Dwight Tankersley said Tuesday that he's fine with the concept.

"I think he came up with an idea that will leave the infrastructure intact serving the property that will be available for industrial expansion," said Tankersley.

Livingston said he would prefer building a shelter on property in the location of his county shop.

Glasscock said to Livingston, "I think people would eat you alive with that."

Livingston said he would hold a public hearing to allow people to address the issue.

District 3 Commissioner Kevin Murphy said the shelter should be out of public view.

Animal Control Director Claudia Ray quipped, "We're coming out of the 'out of "site," out of mind' thinking."

Underwood, who is working on a shelter plan for the city of Decatur said that is the trend for today's shelters. Officials are putting them in places to attract people.

Underwood said he could pattern the design for the county shelter after the city plan. The city's new shelter will be more than 12,000 square feet.

The commission gave Underwood the approval to start drawing plans for the animal shelter and garbage facility, which will include a garbage transfer station.

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