By: Pat Hunter

March 31, 2009


Can you imagine Loudon County Mayor Doyle Arp catching stray animals and transporting them to the shelter in his county car as Mayor Jerry Cunningham? Blount County Mayor Jerry Cunningham is pictured below as Top Dog Catcher, gloves and all, accepting a surrendered dog, which was later transported to the Loudon County Animal Shelter. 



Loudon County Animal Shelter Picture by Pat Hunter                               Loudon County Animal Shelter door




The same Loudon County Animal Shelter with the sign on its door that says "WE ACCEPT LOUDON COUNTY RESIDENTS ANIMALS ONLY." Click to See Timeline and Voting Record of Commissioners.


The stray animal arrangement with Blount County was supposed to be temporary and only last 6-months. Two years later, why are Loudon County  taxpayers still subsidizing the care of Blount County strays?    


According to the Maryville Daily Times, eight (8) stray animals were transported to the Loudon County Animal shelter last Friday March 27, after Blount County animal control officers called in sick, Mayor Cunningham and Blount County Finance Director Dave Bennett filled in for the day.


Taxpayers subsidize cozy arrangement with Blount County

Blount County - Friend or Freeloader?






"County Mayor Jerry Cunningham accepts a surrendered dog at the old Hubbard School on Friday when he filled in for the county’s animal control officers, who were sick. County Mayor Jerry Cunningham and Finance Director Dave Bennett stepped into the breach on Friday when both of Blount County’s animal control officers called in sick.


Dogcatchers for a day:


County executives fill in for animal control officers

By Joel Davis
of The Daily Times Staff

Originally published: March 28. 2009 3:01AM
Last modified: March 27. 2009 11:50PM

County Mayor Jerry Cunningham and Finance Director Dave Bennett stepped into the breach Friday when both of Blount County's animal control officers called in sick.

The two men spent the day accepting surrendered animals from county residents at the old Hubbard School and then transporting them to Loudon County.

"Both of my animal control officers called in sick this morning," Cunningham said. "(Friday) is surrender day at Hubbard. I told Dave 'there are just too many people who had called in that they were bringing (animals to surrender), and if we didn't show up, we'd catch it. I said 'let's just go out there and do it.' We went out there and did it."

"I'm about to wind about it up for the day," Cunningham said, with a laugh, when reached by cell phone on Friday.

What did he think of the experience?

"I don't want to do it full-time," he said. "We got about eight of them and took them to Loudon County."

Animal control has been a problem since the previous County Commission declined to continue funding a contract with Maryville for animal control services. The Loudon County Commission is accepting Blount's animals at the Loudon County Animal Shelter for $4,000 a month until June 30, 2009.

"The service we've been giving, it's been kind of pitiful," Cunningham said. "We're tweaking a lot of things. It's a work-in-progress. We're hoping to give our citizens better service on animal control than in the past. "I've been very, very dissatisfied with it. We've implemented some new policies, and I think that folks will see a drastic improvement, but I won't be patrolling for strays tonight."

The county has been involved in a public-private partnership to build a new county animal shelter. The Smoky Mountain Animal Care Foundation, which is raising funds for the effort, recently received a $25,000 grant from The Charles and Sue Fouche Charitable Foundation to go toward construction of the new Blount County Animal Center.

The estimated cost to build the facility as designed is $1.6 million. The County Commission previously appropriated $430,000, which includes $80,000 raised by the SMACF and $350,000 in seed money that the commission authorized in 2007, that will allow the core of the facility to be built.

The general contractor for the animal shelter is Carico Construction of Louisville. The animal center is set to open in three phases. Phase I consists of operational kennels and limited office space. The animal shelter is being built behind the Boys and Girls Club, 241 Currie Ave.

For more information about the Blount County Animal Center project, contact Rick Yeager at-621-0539 or Chris Protzman at 824-1700. To learn more, visit

In normal circumstances, Blount County Animal Control will respond to calls at 228-0024 Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On Fridays, an animal control representative is in the parking lot of the old Hubbard School, 3509 Tuckaleechee Pike at the corner of the pike and Hubbard School Road, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. to receive animals. County residents may bring unwanted dogs or cats there to be surrendered during those times."


SOURCE: The Maryville Daily Times