Auxvasse aldermen question feasibility of no kill shelter

Two local residents concerned about the number of animals running through the city have approached the board of aldermen about the possibility of starting up a volunteer-run, no-kill shelter.

Lisa and Lowell Davidson were present at Tuesday night’s regular Board of Aldermen meeting to talk about their desire to improve animal control in the city.

“We want to try to see, as citizens of Auxvasse, if we can get the shelter up and running again,” Lisa Davidson said.

Although they said they are not opposed to the idea, board members said they were skeptical it would work.

“We have concerns about animals being picked up and then held and held and held — people here don’t reclaim their animals,” Mayor Kevin Phares said.

Alderman Terry Walker pointed out the city’s current shelter has the capacity to hold only six dogs and two cats, which he and several other board members pointed out would have them at capacity “in one night.”

“If you’re serious about this, one of the first things you need to do is try and get donations to increase the capacity,” Walker said. “I like the idea, but I do have concerns about the money aspect of it.”

Alderwoman Stephanie Leverett shared similar concerns, noting “it’s about more than just good will.”

“Mary Street on my side of town is always an issue — right now we have a lot of mangy kittens — I know one woman who has taken at least 100 kittens over to Columbia over the years,” Leverett said, reinforcing the question of shelter capacity. “Then you have to worry about immunizing and liability for the volunteers.”

Davidson said they have friends and volunteers who are willing to help foster animals as well as provide training that would make them more adoptable.

Leverett countered again with numbers.

“I think you’re going to find you’ll get 15 cats in a day — what are your volunteers going to be able to handle?” Leverett asked. “I think a no-kill shelter is a good idea, but I don’t know how feasible it is.”

She suggested the Davidsons contact other no-kill shelters to find out how they deal with those challenges and “keep coming back, and we’ll work with you.”

“I’m all for it if you want to try something,” Walker agreed. “If you’re serious about it, I’m on board with you.”

In other business, Mike Tompkins, the certified public accountant hired by the city to do its annual audit, gave his report to the board.

Tompkins said no material weaknesses were found. He said that — like many small municipalities and government entities — the city does not have the ideal number of employees to facilitate segregation of duties, but added that “the staff does everything we want them to do,” in preparing for the audit.

There was also discussion about what to do about the weeds and brush growing alongside the railroad tracks in town. Maintenance of the land immediately to either side of the tracks is the responsibility of the railroad owners. After some discussion, it was suggested to give the railroad notice that it needs to clean up the property or the city will have the work done and bill them for it.

“I say send it, and once the appropriate time passes, spray it,” Alderman Mike Bickel said. “I really don’t think they’re going to do anything until we force them.”

At the end of Tuesday night’s meeting, the board of aldermen appointed John and Stephanie Leverett, Jessica Hooks, Twyla Lansing, Molly Warren, Kevin Phares and Wendy Garner to the parks and recreation board.

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