While walking her dog in the Gun Barrel City Park, GBC resident Terri Glover said she heard dogs barking. After returning her pet to the car, she decided to investigate the barking dogs. What she found was the city's animal impound facility.
The City of Gun Barrel City will impound over 200 dogs and cats this year. According to officials, this figure will be down from previous years.
Glover, doesn't care if they impound one or 100 dogs. She thinks the dogs and cats should have humane treatment.
To Glover, it didn't make a difference that the animals will be transferred to Henderson County Humane Society within three days. The impound facility is just a holding place until the dogs or cats are transferred to Athens.
Glover said if she had her way, the animals would be delivered to the Humane Society the same day they are impounded. After reaching out to city officials about the condition of the impound facility, she was made aware there were not funds available in the budget to make improvements.
Local business owner Rob Rea heard about Glover's concerns. He stepped forward to offer his help in making the impound facility as comfortable as possible, until the animals can be transferred to the Athens Humane Society.
Glover said, “I discussed my concerns with the mayor and city manager. I was mostly concerned about lack of air movement, due to the structure and lack of heat.”
Mayor Jim Braswell and City Manager Gerry Boren arranged a meeting with Rea and local animal advocates Sydney and Ed Bush.
“I was brought into the meeting as an afterthought,” Rea said. “I have a reputation as a dog lover.”
Rea said he understood these dogs and cats needed some help very quickly, and after hearing about the paperwork and budgetary considerations that the city had to adhere to, it was very frustrating.
Glover said, “Rob Rea stepped up, and said 'Let's make this happen.' He donated the funds and manpower to get a fence, fans and heaters for the kennels.”
“The simplest solution in my mind was to fund it through Rita's Club Foundation,” Rea said. “These funds come from the same generous patrons from Rita's Club that provide for local Christmas families and college scholarships.”
Rea said, “This was a group of concerned citizens who saw a need, and some people fortunate enough to have the funds to do the job.”
Glover said, “Without his support, the improvements to the impound facility would not have happened anytime soon.”
The first phase of the improvements is complete with a fenced in area for the dogs to be allowed out of their pens for exercise. The next phase will be refurbishing the kennels with a mesh-type material for better air quality.
Rea said the city is checking into the electric capability at the impound for the fans and heating units that are planned.
Rea said he and his wife Susie, along with all the foundation participants, want to make sure that Mayor Braswell gets appropriate accolades for bringing the participants together, and letting the project get completed.
“Without his support, this project would never have happened,” said Rea.
As for how much the improvements to the impound facility will cost, Rea said, “I'd rather not get specific. But it's more than a couple of thousand dollars. And I'm just proud that Rita's Club Foundation could help. It is such a good start to the Christmas season.”