The initial news reports of the discussion last Wednesday morning, Sept. 6 between the Jackson County Commissioners and two representatives of the Humane Society of Jackson County regarding the use of buildings at the Jackson County Fairgrounds has prompted a public response from Jackson County Fair Board Vice President Christopher Smalley.
Humane Society representatives Diana Yates and Janice Brumfield expressed concerns to the commissioners that the Fair Board had decided not to allow the 4-H Building to be used for future Rascal Unit clinics for the low-cost spaying and neutering of dogs and cats. Instead, the Fair Board has made an unheated building on the fairgrounds available for the Rascal clinics. However, the Humane Society representatives expressed concern whether this building would be desirable and adequate to meet the needs and feels there may be no place to conduct these needed local clinics in the near-term future.
Smalley, speaking on behalf of the Fair Board, wished to address the issue publicly as no representatives of the Fair Board were present at the commissioners' meeting.
Smalley noted that the Fair Board had been charging a discounted rental rate for the Rascal clinics as a form of support, an amount which was just enough to cover its own maintenance and operational costs. He indicated the financial aspect was not the main issue in the decision to not allow the 4-H Building to be used for future clinics.
Smalley indicated that the problem was the foul odor which has lingered even after the clinics were completed and the building turned back over to the Fair Board. Smalley noted this has resulted in extra cleanup work for the Fair Board and that the bad smell was even being noticed by other renters who used the building after the clinics.
Smalley indicated the rental of the fairgrounds facilities, including the 4-H Building, is an important source of income for the Fair Board and that the decision to move the Rascal Units to another building on the fairgrounds was made in what was considered to be the best interests of the Fair Board and the county fair it manages.
Smalley also wished to clarify that the "garage" mentioned in the commissioners' discussion is actually the large Commercial Building, which is on the other end of the fairgrounds from the 4-H Building. The Commercial Building is unheated, but Smalley said the Fair Board would work with the Humane Society to come up with a solution for the colder months, such as the use of space heaters.
"We have no issue with the Humane Society. We are trying to work with them and we're not trying to push them to the side," Smalley commented, "but we have to look out for what's best for our facility and its rentability."