“What we have here . . . is a failure to communicate.” Those immortal lines from the classic film “Cool Hand Luke” pretty well sum up the meeting Monday of the county commission’s Animal Control Committee.

Scheduled to air a number of complaints and grievances concerning FCCA’s (Friends of Campbell County Animals) administration of the county’s Adrion Baird Animal Shelter, commissioners instead ended up agreeing that the only complaint appears to be a lack of communication between shelter personnel and those voicing complaints.

John Vanover, who voiced displeasure to the commission last week with the way the shelter handled his efforts to adopt a Border Collie pup, repeated his complaint at the committee meeting.

Vanover said that having seen a photo of the puppy on Facebook, he had contacted shelter staff and asked to adopt it. He was told the animal would have to be held for a two-week quarantine period before adoption, but the pup was then sent off to an Animal Rescue shelter in OliverSprings.

Shelter Director Priscilla Simpson explained to the commission that the dog had a highly contagious sickness and their policy was to not adopt out sick animals until cured in order to avoid spreading contamination. Missy Robbins, former director of the Claiborne County animal shelter, supported Simpson, telling the committee that Claiborne County has the same policy concerning adoptions.

“We couldn’t keep in at the shelter and endanger other animals. Our policy was to send sick animals to Rescue where they would be boarded with someone able to treat them,” Simpson explained.

When Vanover pointed out that nobody explained the policy or that the animal was sick when he enquired about adopting, Simpson admitted that there was a lack of communication. When the Director of East Tennessee Animal Rescue added that Vanover could still apply to adopt the animal once it is cured, he seemed satisfied with the explanation.

Vanover also pointed out that he learned about the animal on a Facebook post that announced it as up for adoption. That Facebook message was not posted by the shelter but the individual who had taken the animal to the shelter, Simpson explained.

Commissioner Ralph Davis repeated his complaint about not being notified about whether animal control ever responded to reports he had passed on to the shelter concerning loose dogs in Jellico. Again, the problem seemed to be lack of communication, Simpson admitted.

Finally, Simpson addressed Mayor E. L. Morton’s complaint that his office had been contacted by Holston Gas about the shelter being three month’s behind on paying its propane gas heating bill.

“We’ve held up on paying those bills because we suspect there’s a leak in the lines. Our shelter’s gas bill for all of 2017 was around $8,000. In the first nine weeks of 2018, the bill was $5,000,” Simpson pointed out.

“Again it’s a lack of communication. You should have called us about the suspected leak, Davisstated.

“We have been dealing with all our vendors directly,” Simpson replied, “You shouldn’t have ever received a call (from the gas company).”

“It is our business. You’re getting tax dollars,” Davis shot back. “Communicating with the commission is all we ask for.”

The committee then adjourned without taking further action. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 04/17/2018-6AM)