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Oxford Board Approves Contract with Team Shelter USA for Animal Shelter Guidance

The Oxford Board of Aldermen met during a special-called meeting Wednesday afternoon to reconsider a previously approved contract with one animal shelter expert and consider the approval of a contract with a different animal shelter expert.

Last week, the Board voted to sign a contract with Tim Crum with Animal Shelter Services for $22,000. Crum and his staff would have spent about four days in Oxford evaluating the shelter building, past management contracts and other reports in regard to Oxford’s now-defunct animal shelter and provide recommendations to the Board on the best way to move forward in re-opening the shelter.

“Last week, I felt pressured from the public to make a quick decision,” said Mayor Robyn Tannehill. “But we understand more today about the different philosophies of shelter management, intake programs and fostering programs than we did even just a week ago.”

Tannehill asked the Board to approve a $25,000 contract with Team Shelter USA, headed up by veterinarian Sara Pizano, who authored the book, “The Best Practice Playbook for Animal Shelters.”

The contract with Team Shelter USA would offer the city six months of guidance and “hand-holding,” via bi-weekly Zoom meetings along with having a consultant available to the city for questions via email or phone at other times.

Team Shelter USA, LLC will provide expertise and make recommendations to create and develop a progressive, state-of-the-art community-based animal control and sheltering model.

The Board voted to approve the contract with Team Shelter USA. The cost of the contract will be shared with Lafayette County.

Tannehill said Crum was “very gracious to stand down,” even after the Board of Aldermen already approved a contract with his organization last week.

The Board also approved hiring a kennel attendant to keep watch over any animals picked up by the Oxford Police Department until an animal control officer is hired.

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