Campaign for new animal shelter moves forward
By Karen Sells
“We’re very interested in making this happen,” Chair Pete Peterson told members of the Washington County-Johnson City Animal Control Board during their April 23 meeting.
Peterson said office space and clerical assistance will be provided for Dickerson, Bakker and Associates consultant Gary Taylor, who is based in Knoxville but will be spending approximately 10 hours per week in Washington County.
“We’re happy to provide a place where he can keep his stuff,” Peterson said. Assigning a current city staff member with the campaign’s clerical duties will allow Animal Shelter Director Debbie Dobbs to concentrate on operating the animal control center, he added.
Taylor is officially on the job, working toward raising enough money to fund a new shelter.
“In addition to major donors, he wants to begin forming the Fundraising Committee,” Peterson said.
City Commissioner Ralph Van Brocklin will be spearheading membership recruitment for that committee.
County Commissioner David Tomita, who was elected last week to serve concurrently on the Johnson City Commission, believes Taylor’s priority should be the potential six-figure gift identified during the feasibility study earlier this year.
“I don’t want to see him straying from that major donor,” Tomita said. “I don’t think we need to start working on the committee until we know if we have a commitment (from the major donor).”
During their presentation at the February meeting, DBA representatives said the campaign’s first milestone is garnering the potential matching gift of up to $250,000. Securing the matching funds for that gift is the second milestone.
“Gary is extremely laser-focused on that one donor,” Peterson said.
Dobbs had positive news to share with the group regarding numbers for the first quarter of 2013.
“This is the lowest number of animals we have had in 12-15 years,” she said, crediting higher rates of spaying and neutering. “We had more animals going out than being euthanized.” A total of 1,165 animals came into the shelter from January through March, while 1,356 were claimed or adopted.