Wilson Co. leaders to decide on changing animal control tax - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Wilson Co. leaders to decide on changing animal control tax

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MT. JULIET, TN (WSMV) -

A Wilson County animal shelter that adopts out hundreds of pets every year is now worried about its future because of a fight over a tax that helps keep it running.

The $2 tax is charged when Wilson County residents have their pets vaccinated for rabies. Since citizens voted for it in 1980, all of the money has gone to New Leash on Life.

But on Monday, Wilson County commissioners will decide whether to change the 33-year-old law and vote on a new resolution that would raise the tax to $5 and redirect the money to Wilson County Animal Control.

Under the new resolution, County Mayor Randall Hutto says all animal control agencies and non-profits in the county could petition for some of the tax money.

But the director of New Leash on Life says that could be detrimental.

"The thought of this not being here for Wilson County is very difficult to think about," said Amy Haverstick, director at New Leash on Life.

The potential change could mean other shelters in the county benefit, but Haverstick says this shelter is unique. It has a no-kill policy and takes in animals people surrender - not just those animal control picks up.

Also, the shelter adopts hundreds of cats per year and is one of the few shelters in Wilson County that accepts them.

Hutto points out the law was passed when New Leash on Life was the only animal shelter in the county. But times have changed.

"There's more people out there doing animal control than just one, so they were concerned about the funds going to one area," Hutto said.

Commissioners will vote on the animal control tax Monday at 7 p.m. at the Wilson County Courthouse on Main Street. The meeting is open to the public.

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