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May 3, 2009 / V A Nichols

Round 2009: ire about BJC animal control


Here we are again, at this sadly familiar place: upset and angry at Birmingham-Jefferson County animal control.

A recent article in the Black & White newspaper recaps the troubled history of the current vendor responsible for animal control in the City of Birmingham and Jefferson County.

Soon, Birmingham City Councilors will begin working on the 2010 budget. The current animal control vendor’s contract has been in month-to-month mode since October 1, 2007.

The City of Birmingham and Jefferson County share the animal control contract. Tthese two entities share animal control buildings, vehicles, and staff. This quirky collaboration has caused years of mutual contention over RFP [Request for Proposal: contract requirements ] and contract content, as well as vendor performance review.

A city RFP  for animal control services, largely written by City Councilor Valerie Abbott, has been ready since late 2007. Of importance in the City’s RFP is the non-profit status requirement of the vendor. This issue has allegedly sent county lawyers through the roof.

The current animal control contract holder, BJC Animal Control Services Inc., is the only for-profit animal control vendor in the nation.

Deja vu can be frustrating. How do we continue to arrive at this point? And, why can’t the situation at animal control be resolved, and a new day implemented?

City and County elected officials express a limited commitment to improvement at animal control. Those who are committed struggle against the tide of apathy and special interests of their fellow seat holders.

Elected officials have a core focus once in office…to be re-elected. This focus impacts everything they say or do while holding office.

What makes an issue important to an elected official?  It’s expressed importance from the officials’ constituents.

Do you know your elected official in Birmingham and Jefferson County?

Do you know their contact information?

You should, for the sake of stray animals in Birmingham and Jefferson County.


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