The Joe Black Effort, a not for profit group, is trying to establish a DeKalb County Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals.
Renee Stufano and Martha Conger, members of the Joe Black Effort, addressed the Smithville Mayor and Aldermen Monday night, offering to help address the issue of stray, neglected, and abused animals in DeKalb County.
Stufano said the Joe Black Effort is willing to volunteer at the dog pound to help take care of the animals and they want a waiver drawn up that seeks to hold harmless the city and county from liability. "The Joe Black Effort, a not for profit organization, formed to help the animals in DeKalb County," said Stufano. "We have a few different things we would like to see accomplished. The first thing we have seen is that there is an issue in the county about stray, neglected, and abused animals. All of us can agree that there is a problem. We wish to offer a temporary solution. We've already spoken with the county (commission). We are not asking for an answer today. But because it is a county wide issue and a lot of us are from the county, we would like to offer to volunteer at the pound to help take care of the animals. Clean up after them. The ones that need medical attention, take them out and get their medical attention. Get them fostered and adopted. The third thing we'd like to accomplish is to create a county wide coalition that has members of every city, not just Smithville, and members from the county commission to oversee the needs of the animals in DeKalb County. The Joe Black Effort is a non for profit rescue. We rehabilitate, take care of animals, and re- home them. We have one leaving for New York on December 12. We had one picked up today. There is a very good network for us to place animals. I think we can do a little bit better with the pound that we have now and I think our final destination will be a real rescue for the whole county. I'd like for you to think about perhaps letting some volunteers come and help. We're happy to sign waivers or disclosures so that we wouldn't hold the city or county responsible. We're offering to come in for free. It doesn't get any better than that," said Stufano.
Martha Conger also stressed the need for a waiver to allow the volunteers to begin helping. "What we need at this time is permission to volunteer," said Conger. "We need to get a waiver drawn up so that the city or county is not liable. I know there is a question about insurance and whether or not your (city) insurance will cover it. But we would like to see that happen. In addition to that we are forming a DeKalb County Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals. Basically that is a cooperative effort of both private and public sectors for the purpose of jointly implementing humane strategies for helping the abused and neglected animals of DeKalb County. What we hope to do is work with city officials and county officials. We may be talking to you individually about sitting on that coalition," added Conger.
City attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. told Conger that the city and county would have to work together in resolving the liability issue. "There's a double problem. The county owns the building and the city is running it," said Parsley. " I've talked to the county attorney (Hilton Conger) and we've got to work out a resolution as to if somebody falls in the building or somebody gets bit so we're working on that but we haven't been able to get our heads together to finalize it," he said.