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Will The BOC Listen To The People

Yesterday, over thirty individuals came to the courthouse at 10AM in the morning and formed a ring around the outside front of the courthouse sidewalk with their message.

A citizen protest was held yesterday at the Douglas county courthouse. The protest was brought about as a means of hopefully asking the Douglas county board of commissioners to listen to the citizens of Douglas county and other concerned citizens and their concerns of the present direction of our animal shelter.

In previous attempts to communicate their concerns to the board of commissioners, the citizens of Douglas county and other concerned citizens have attempted to voice their grievances to the commissioners directly. However the commissioners have refused to listen to the people to this point on any level of communication, either via emails, at community meetings or via their direct appearances before the board.

Citizens have turned out and attended the last two most recent “chat with the chairman” town hall meetings with the commission chairman, only to be confronted with no more than lip service by the chairman in response to their grievances. Concerned citizens have attended the last three Animal Control Advisory Board meetings and each time they have been met with the same level of disinterest, inaction and lack of respect for their concerns by the ACAB chairwoman. At the last ACAB meeting, the chairwoman abruptly adjourned the meeting when citizens began talking after being ignored throughout the entire meeting and while being forced to endure the constant interruptions of the ride share lobby.

Two weeks ago eight concerned citizens took the time to come directly to the board of commissioners work session, hoping to voice their concerns directly to the entire board of commissioners. They were rebuffed by an inattentive board of commissioners and a county administrator who obviously were not listening to anything being said to them by the citizens present.

While citizens spoke of their direct and specific experiences involving the animal shelter and its new director and while they spoke of their concerns about the present animal services director, the commissioners and the county administrator kept their faces buried in their laptops and cell phone texting.

After placing every citizen speaker on an egg timer and cutting them off at three minutes, the county commission chairman told those present that he felt that all of the concerns raised had been addressed by the board of commissioner’s press release issued on February 14th. Chairman Worthan followed that up by asserting the the board of commissioners and each of the commissioners on the board supported that press release.

Yesterday, over thirty individuals came to the courthouse at 10AM in the morning and formed a ring around the outside front of the courthouse sidewalk with protest signs with a message for the board of commissioners. These citizens were asking to be heard by the Douglas county board of commissioners. These citizens are also asking the citizens of Douglas county and Georgia to take note of what is presently occurring in our county.

Other citizens came to the steps outside the courthouse to bring their messages and their desire to be heard by their elected officials. Everyone remained on site until 12:30 PM. None of the commissioners ever ventured out to address the citizens or their concerns during the entire morning, opting instead to have their communications director address media inquiries.

The messages being delivered by citizens yesterday, were messages of a unified voice of the community. The messages were relatively simple: “Listen to the people.” Citizens who were present at the courthouse yesterday, agreed on two main points during their protest. First, they asked that their grievances be heard and responded to by their board of commissioners and second, they called for the replacement of the present animal services director with someone who is capable of managing our shelter by providing modern and progressive leadership and someone who is willing to work with the community.

These citizens asked for leadership at our shelter that focuses on animal welfare combined with respect for the citizens of Douglas county and their concerns. The citizens of Douglas county present at yesterday's protest also called for the immediate replacement of the present director’s antiquated philosophies. Specifically, his complete abandonment of established and proven animal welfare and volunteer programs and his stated intentions to increase enforcement efforts against citizens and companion animals in Douglas county. These actions are in conjunction with his stated desires of expanding the authority of Douglas county animal control over the citizens and companion animals of Douglas county.

Hopefully, the board of commissioners and others in county government will soon begin to listen to the messages brought forth to them yesterday by concerned citizens and citizen advocates who are asking for a modern and progressive animal shelter in Douglas county. Either the people of Douglas county and those who have actively supported our animal shelter in the metro area and across the region will be heard and afforded the courtesy of respect for their desires by their elected officials, or these citizens and animal advocates will continue to bring their concerns before the public in the form of protests and any other legal means of addressing their concerns to our elected officials who to date have refused to listen to them.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Rebekah Mattox March 13, 2013 at 07:53 PM
And instead of "research" on people and writing to attack people, the Smiths need to be VOLUNTEERING to socailize & show compassion to the animals at OUR shelter which the SMITHs have encroached and branded as THEIR territory.
Rebekah Mattox March 13, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Even is she happens to snare volunteers, once they've read her writings and learn of the SMITH's actions, motivation to stay snared & to relinquish freedom of speech in order to volunteer will be LOST.
Rebekah Mattox March 13, 2013 at 09:05 PM
The $8000 Lifeline Assessment recommends altering & releasing feral cats but IS NOT BEING DONE. Check this out: PROGRESSIVE ACTION: Facebook: Spartanburg Animal Services:"This is not a “Dream” Mr. Sparkles [cat] was released by Officer Mike earlier this morning. He spent the night at Animal Allies after his surgery. He is healthy and happy to be home again. This is not a “dream”… Animal Control has a TNR Program… “Like” our page and spread the word. "DOUGLASVILLE CAN DO THE SAME ESPECIALLY IF we can get Fix'EmFree reinstatated!!!!!!!
Rebekah Mattox March 13, 2013 at 09:11 PM
from Kim Owens-Mayhew: I saw recently that Spartanburg has euthed zero cats this year, but so far has TNR 103 thanks to a grant from PetSmart. If a shelter wants to save animals enough, they will find a way to make it happen.
Rebekah Mattox March 14, 2013 at 12:05 AM
AHA! So there really ARE some things that the BoC & Rick Smith could still learn: RE: Tipton County Animal Shelter: For the first time in history every single cat was adopted/rescued at TCAS, TN!!! . thanks to their wonderful staff, volunteers, county officers, rescue organizations, community and e-community, their hard work, compassion, sweat, and tears made this miracle possible!!! ***TCAS used to be a high kill shelter but no more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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