Not everyone is happy about the idea of putting a new facility for the Chesterfield County Animal Shelter at the corner of Highway 9 and Hillian-Edwards Road. Two Chesterfield County residents took advantage of the public comment session of the Chesterfield County Council meeting Oct. 2 to tell council members how they feel about it.
Sylvester Merriman, of Cheraw, asked council members not to put the shelter “in the back door of poor people and minorities.” He suggested the council consider placing a facility such as this “somewhere in a wooded area, away from where people live.”
The property council unanimously agreed on Sept. 4 to purchase for $125,000, at the corner of Highway 9 and Hillian-Edwards Road, is directly beside the Magnolia Park mobile home neighborhood on Highway 9. The area behind the designated property is also well-populated.
“I think it’s a great injustice to put a dog pound in someone’s backyard,” said Merriman.
The proposed property is fenced in and houses two buildings. One is 8,000 square feet, and the other is 15,000 square feet. According to Tim Eubanks, director of public works for Chesterfield County, the new property will not only offer advantages to the animals, it will provide more office space as well.
Eubanks told council in September the current office space is far too small.
“If you get two people in there it’s crowded,” he said.
Before the vote was called on the matter last month, Chesterfield County Councilman Douglas Curtis spoke highly of the location.
“This is prime real estate,” Curtis said. “The property alone is worth that investment.”
Jimmy Little also spoke to council last week. He urged council to reconsider their decision and to “do what’s right for all concerned.”
Neither of the men disagreed with the county’s need for extended services for the county’s animal shelter. They simply asked that it not be placed in their neighborhood.
“Lord knows we don’t need any more bad news about dogs around here,” said Little.
Two years ago, Cheraw made national headlines when 22 dogs were shot, instead of being euthanized, at the county’s animal shelter. That action brought about many changes; some initiated by County Council and some mandated by court order.
Those changes, according to Eddie O’Neal, executive director for the South Carolina Humane Society, now rank Chesterfield County as one of the leading animal shelter services in the state.
Council members only receive information during the public comment session. Customarily, council members do not, and are not required, to respond at that time.
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.