published Monday, July 18th, 2011

Lyerly, Ga., renews aid for strays

By Jimmy Espy

LYERLY, Ga. — The town council thought it was saving some money when it voted in April to quit paying Chattooga County for animal control services.

However, the elected leaders didn’t have a backup plan, which left the 500-plus residents of the small community in western Chattooga County scrambling for ways to deal with loose animals.

That changed last week when the council reversed course and voted 3-0 to renew service with the county, paying the $350-a-month fee for stray dog and cat pickup.

Animal control service started back in Lyerly less than 24 hours after the vote.

Councilman Robert Thompson, who led the effort in April to drop the service, made the motion to bring it back.

“I know I was the one who made the motion to stop the service, but we need to do something,” Thompson said.

Another council member who voted against the service before, Holly Burrage, also changed her vote.

They were joined by Ellen Wyatt, who opposed the change previously, for a 3-0 vote.

Josh Wyatt, who was a council member and voted against dropping the service in April, now is mayor and did not vote.

“We got a call today about someone dropping off some kittens at the park,” Wyatt said. “I think we need to reinstate the service and let me talk to Jason [County Commissioner Jason Winters] about getting a better price.”

Before the April vote, Lyerly had gone along with Summerville and Trion in paying for the service, but several council members said they were dissatisfied with it and thought the expense was a waste.

However, phone calls from residents seeking help with stray animals pointed out the need for some type of service, officials said.

Jimmy Espy is based in Dalton. Contact him at hoodcsa@aol.com.

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