published Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Bradley County animal shelter director named

Bobbi Anderson, director of the SPCA of Bradley County animal shelter
Bobbi Anderson, director of the SPCA of Bradley County animal shelter
Photo by Paul Leach /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Bradley County has a new director for its Johnson Boulevard animal shelter.

The SPCA board voted 7-0 to appoint Bobbi Anderson of Dayton, Tenn., to the post with a $30,000 annual salary. She replaces Jonathan "Jack" Cooper, who resigned as director on March 22, six days after the shelter opened.

"Bobbi has the unique combination of experience that makes her the perfect fit to direct the SPCA's shelter," Betti Gravelle, president of the SPCA board, said in an announcement.

Anderson recently served as a veterinary assistant at The Village Pet in Dayton and Fido Fixers in Madisonville, Tenn., worked with humane societies in Indiana and has experience in kennel management and animal control, according to the announcement.

"You're light years ahead of so many shelters, and I look forward to being part of continuing to create this community's vision of compassion," Anderson said of the SPCA facility.

The SPCA, which opened its animal shelter on March 17 as part of an $80,000 annual agreement with Bradley County, was recently questioned by the Bradley County Commission about the changes in the facility's administration.

Gravelle's appointment of SPCA board treasurer Jack Burke to the post of interim director came under fire from County Commissioners Jeff Yarber and Charlotte Peak-Jones because the decision was made without a board vote.

"It's a matter of transparency," said Peak-Jones, who serves on the SPCA board with Commissioner Mark Hall.

Gravelle defended her appointment of Burke, saying her decision came as a quick response to Cooper's emailed resignation on the evening of March 22.

"Some people want to make this a personal or political issue, and I will not go down that road," Burke said in a statement. "I was asked to accept this position on short notice based on my experience with the structure, mission and operations of the SPCA of Bradley County."

Burke, a Democrat, and Yarber, a Republican, are both seeking election to county commission seats in Bradley County's 5th District.

Cooper's resignation letter cited a difference in shelter management and operational philosophy.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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