Lynn Haven to Bay County: "Get Out of Our Animal Shelter"

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Three years ago, the Humane Society told Bay County it was getting out of the animal control business.

The move caught the county off guard. Lynn Haven offered to help the county out temporarily until a county-run animal shelter could be built.

Since then, Lynn Haven Mayor Walter Kelley says nothing has been done.

“The fact that they have more or less, let everything die down, we feel like they're just ignoring our staff telling them 'we want you to get out of the dog business with us in September,’" said Kelley.

In a strongly-worded letter to Bay County Commission Chairman George Gainer obtained by NewsChannel 7, Kelley said the county has, "ignored our agreement and is insensitive to the wishes of our commission."

He said animal control is a "thankless and demoralizing service" and the county is "taking advantage of our hospitality."

Kelley also said the current three-year contract that expires Sept. 30 won't be renewed, and the county has until Jan. 31, 2005 to get out of the Lynn Haven Animal Shelter. It's a move that's captured the attention of at least one Bay County Commissioner.

"Certainly, we've got to back up what we promised to Mayor Kelley. And we'll put a new sense of urgency behind it and get a new animal control site selected," said Gainer, "it's not a matter of money. We've budgeted for it."

That could mean partnering with the Humane Society, who has in the past, expressed interest in getting back into the animal control business.

"At this point, all options are still open," said Gainer.

If the county shows some effort in building its own shelter, Kelley says the deadline to be out of the Lynn Haven facility could be pushed back, but not for more than a couple months.

Right now, Bay County pays Lynn Haven about $6,000 per month for animal control. The rate jumps to $10,000 per month Oct. 1.