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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.

Janice Goad March 06, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Adding to the problem is that the Commission Chairman keeps saying "give the guy a chance" and "he's been here less than 90 days" -- and yet he's done more damage to morale in that short time than one could have imagined. Expressions of concern to the commissioners are met with condescension and ignorance -- meaning both lack of understanding of the issue and ignoring the opportunity to learn the other side. Nobody wants a fight, but nobody wants their legitimate concerns to be dismissed as totally unimportant, either. If the community has to fight to be heard by THEIR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES, then I suspect they're going to get one. What are they so afraid of hearing? Rick Smith hides behind his wife, the commissioners hide behind Wes Tallon and throw out diversions to avoid addressing the issues, insulting their constituents by claiming the protest is the result of "sour grapes", and the chairwoman of the ACAB closes down meetings as soon as somebody asks a question or tries to make a point -- why? The BOC's only response has been personal attacks on Carl Pyrdum and/or the old "less than 90 days" bit -- which I don't understand, either. I thought he came on board in early November and we're into March, but I'll admit I could be wrong about numbers of days. The point is that nobody is offering an answer to any of the expressed concerns. If that doesn't make you wonder why, then I guess you don't understand this at all, and probably never will. Again, thanks, Carl.
Lori March 06, 2013 at 05:11 PM
The latest comment in today's Douglas County Sentinel from Commissioner Worthan: "Worthan said Smith still has the support of the BOC and that many of the charges against Smith are “misinformation." " Please tell us Commissioner Worthan, WHAT do you consider to be misinformation?? The concerns of the people are based in FACT. This will not be resolved until questions are answered openly and honestly.
Lisa Levesque March 06, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Based on the lack of transparency, I think we can be assured it won't. Sad.
Nichole Hardy Swann March 08, 2013 at 12:25 AM
This makes my blood boil. Tom Worthan has been disregarding people for years and I don't know how he keeps getting elected. I hate that he is being so blase about this. Makes me question the connection between he and Rick Smith. The ones who suffer here are the animals of Douglas County. Can this be addressed with the Mayor? Can we bypass the BOC?
joey casey March 08, 2013 at 12:50 AM
Give Rick Smith a chance? His history both past and recent show that he does not value life. People OR animals. During the portest his answer was to euthanize 19 animals. So by that logic we should free murderers, rapists and child molesters because, only to be fair to Rick Smith and Tom Worthan, they deserve a chance.
Janice Goad March 08, 2013 at 01:15 AM
Good point, Joey. I wondered myself if the 19 animals killed on Monday and Tuesday were retaliation for the protest. There was an Animal Control truck that drove through the parking lot at the courthouse during the protest -- I was there, saw it with my own eyes -- and then animals were killed that day and the next. And I will not dignify what Rick Smith does by calling it anything other than killing. He KILLED 19 animals who were previously friendly and healthy but suddenly were so aggressive and so sick the only solution to the problem was their deaths. It will get worse before it gets better because, in answer to the question asked by this article, NO, the BOC will only listen to each other and the bull-slinger who is their leader.
Rebekah Mattox March 08, 2013 at 02:10 AM
To what other alternatives in goverrnment can complaints about the BOC be taken? And WHY is the Humane Society NOT advocating for HUMANE treatment of the animals?
Rebekah Mattox March 08, 2013 at 02:11 AM
Also, to whom should complaints about the local Humane Society be directed?
Karen Orgeron March 08, 2013 at 02:31 AM
All well said. I would like to add that in addition to these friendly, healthy, animals all of a sudden becoming aggressive and sick some after a month are suddenly feral. How can that be?
jason m flatt March 08, 2013 at 02:43 AM
He will do as he did in MO.. the numbers will not be naked as they were.. He will continue to hide behind dog aggression, and feral cat classifications to justify..
Janice Goad March 08, 2013 at 04:25 AM
Exactly -- it canNOT be.
Rebekah Mattox March 08, 2013 at 04:53 AM
Smith is like a naughty little boy who's sweet when his parents are looking & who sticks out his tongue when his parents are not looking. Smith is sick, maladapted, and needs help. He clearly experiences NO "moral stress" about killing--just think--he KILLS EVERY MONDAY, & he CAME OUT OF RETIREMENT TO CONTINUE THIS BEHAVIOR! He is labeling dogs AGGRESSIVE who are NOT. And he is willfully IGNORING the Lifeline Assessment recommendations regarding feral cats--which is to trap them, alter them, then release them NOT MURDER THEM! I'd hate to be Mr. & Mrs. Smith when they stand before the Creator to be judged on judgement day as to how they handled the job of caretakers of God's creatures--LIE! KILL! BE RUDE! Be STRIFE-stirrers! How gross & repulsive to think of sharing a bed and life w/THAT sort of mentality! How SAD for the innocent animals!
Donna A. March 09, 2013 at 03:05 AM
To all you Smith supporters, when the kill rate goes to 50% will you still support him? Wait, just wait, it will happen.
Rebekah Mattox March 09, 2013 at 03:49 AM
I do not understand the culture of silence among BOC & DCHS. It implies a certain FEAR.What are you afraid of? Losing your itzy bitzy rinky-dinky pittance of power? Power corrupts & absolute power corrupts absolutely. LOOK AT WHAT PAULDING CO. shelter is doing even if you want to ignore what Mike P., Tracy, & the volunteers did at DCAC last year!!! Paulding County shelter is putting DC to shame.WHY is there such a passive aggression? Why are there even LIES? God is making a movie of our lives and what we do w/our gifts, opportunities, & dictates. Ms. D.M., Pres. of DCHS, Mr. & Mrs Smith, BOC: are you proud of what you are doing with your life and w/the dictates of the Creator? If you ARE proud, you are in great need of intelligence testing & REDEMPTION. You are repulsive & repugnant. "Depart from me! I never knew you!" Your Judgement Day is inevitable, & what you are doing to God's Creatures is a hell here in DC. If you have no shame, that reveals volumes about who you really are:LOSERS! MURDERERS!
Neal Hogan March 12, 2013 at 05:02 PM
I am just curious when are the next elections for the BOC?
Richard Segal March 12, 2013 at 05:41 PM
Chairman Tom Worthan and Commissioner Kelly Robinson were re-elected in November, 2012. Their seats are up again in 2016. Commissioners Henry Mitchell, Mike Mulcare and Ann Jones Guider are up for re-election in 2014.
Cyd March 13, 2013 at 01:16 AM
Jason, according to my research of your past I conformed that you "intentionally" misled the public with a rescue that occurred on Ohio in 2010. According to the article you were "called" to assist and you "helped" rescue 200 Pit bulls. According to my research you were 1 of hundreds of people from across the nation that responded. No one from HSUS called you. Your involvement consisted of feeding and watering the dogs for a couple of days. You then return to Douglas County and portrayed yourself as some sort of hero. Let the truth be known your only participation was no different that the other hundreds of people, EXCEPT, you used the unfortunate situation to promote yourself. How SAD!!!
Cyd March 13, 2013 at 01:20 AM
I "confirmed" that you intentionally mislead the public.
Karen Milde March 13, 2013 at 03:03 AM
cindy smith you are truly barking up the wrong tree by trying to attack the character of Jason Flatt. He does more for people and animals than yourself or rick could EVER comprehend . Watch yourself sweetheart , your getting in over your head.
jason m flatt March 13, 2013 at 03:03 AM
Cyd. I only hope that I can rescue half as many animals as your Husband has killed.. I dont do my battles online.. I wish you well..
Tracy Thompson March 13, 2013 at 03:20 AM
Cyd, So far you have tried to attack me, Susan fiengold and Jason Flatt with your "research". We have all walked the walk in the animal welfare community for years. What have you done? Maybe you could spend your time answering questions asked over and over instead of jumping to the next person that you feel is a threat. If you truly did your "research" you would look at the number of people helped just this past Saturday by Beat the Heat. This was the dream and was brought to life by Jason Flatt. Have you done anything like that? Were you out there helping hundreds of people and animals? No you were not I was there helping and I certainly did not see you! Maybe if you truly did your "research" you would find out how many shelters have benefited by the knowledge of Susan Fiengold and Lifeline through the shelter evaluation program. The true animal advocates know what is up and we know when there is a wolf in the henhouse. We will continue to expose that wolf until the animals are safe again. Research that!
Tammy Rakestraw Pyrdum March 13, 2013 at 04:37 AM
How truly unprofessional and appalling that the new DCAC shelter volunteer coordinator, who is representing Douglas County, spends her time insulting people on both the Patch and Facebook. What kind of image is that putting forth for both the shelter and Douglas County? Someone really needs to take a look at what her actions are doing to their Public Relations with the community as a whole . These actions are very counterproductive to any type positive community relations.. Perhaps CYD, HOPE in Douglas County, Cindy Smith (Volunteer Coordinator) would be better served to spend time trying to network, promote and find homes and rescues for the animals at DCAC. Since there were 30 killed last week, looks like the homeless and abandoned animals of DCAC need help to make it out alive.
Lori March 13, 2013 at 02:13 PM
I would like to know why Rick Smith can't speak for himself.
Rebekah Mattox March 13, 2013 at 02:52 PM
Cyd's attacks have to do with changing the subject & focus which is 1]alienating established volunteers 2]changing descriptions of dogs [for ex, to aggressive] in order to kill mmore dogs, and 3] ignoring the Lifeline recommendation for feral cats [& labeling cats feral which are not].
Rebekah Mattox March 13, 2013 at 02:53 PM
There are "PEN NAMES," Lori! WINK!
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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