Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
Barely controlling her emotions, Mayor Sarah Pelican opened the August 6, 2013 regular meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) by proclaiming August 17, 2013 as “International Homeless Animals’ Day” and the month of August 2013 as “Homeless Animals’ Month.” She called on pet owners to act responsibly by having their animals spayed or neutered to prevent the birth of animals who are destined to be homeless or neglected. She presented the proclamation to Ms. Beth Hackney, President of Cats Angels, Inc., SPCA. A representative of Cats Angels Volunteers also presented a plaque to Ms. Hackney in appreciation of her services. Ms. Hackney thanked the FBCC and commended her volunteers. She said, “My goal is to come before you and say ‘there are no more homeless animals.’”
The Mayor recognized Brandy Carvalho, Executive Director of the Nassau Humane Society (NHS), who announced that the Chardonnay Foundation has provided a generous matching grant to help the NHS in its capital campaign to raise funds for a new shelter. The Foundation will match up to $200,000 in contributions raised between now and October 31, 2013. Carvalho announced, “We are very much on schedule to begin construction in just a few months. We hope to have a groundbreaking day for you in 6-8 weeks.”
Carvalho thanked the FBCC, the community and the Chardonnay Foundation. More information about this grant may be found on the Nassau Humane Society’s website: http://www.nassauhumanesociety.com/news/chardonnay.html.
At the end of the FBCC’s meeting Mayor Pelican once again returned to the subject of homeless animals. She reminded commissioners that at an earlier meeting she had asked them how they would feel about beginning each meeting by showcasing in Commission Chambers a homeless animal available for adoption from the Nassau Humane Society. This type of program has been done by some other local governments in northeast Florida. Commissioner Pat Gass opined that it would be difficult to see the animal, “unless you were to put him on top of the commission desk and have him walk across.” After some laughter, Pelican asked about using the city’s PEG channel for this purpose. Both City Manager Joe Gerrity and Interim City Clerk Kim Briley suggested that the Mayor have her videographer contact Mike Rooney, the city’s IT director, to see about the feasibility of such a project.
Pelican said, “I would like to see us do something because there are so many needy animals out there.“ Gass suggested running a video loop of shelter animals before and after meetings to highlight the animals available for adoption. “But you can bring them in here, too. That’s okay with me,” she said. Other commissioners did not comment.
August 8, 2013 1:00 a.m.