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Critter call a surprise
Company opts out of contract
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Forsyth County News
It appears Forsyth County may need to find a new home for animals picked up by the sheriff’s animal control unit after July 31.

The corporation that runs animal control facilities for the county has notified the county of its plan to end a $400,000 per year agreement.

Payment to the corporation called NALAA went for maintenance and operation of the facility, which is owned by the corporation. According to the contract, either Forsyth County or the corporation can terminate with 60 days notice.

In a May 11 letter to County Manager Doug Derrer, NALAA did not offer specific reasons for the termination. It stated only that the corporation wished to end the contract “for a number of reasons which would have little constructive value to recite.”

Lanier Orr owns Orr Animal Hospital and is president of NALAA, which stands for the first letters of the owners’ names.

Orr acknowledged that termination of the agreement would cause a problem for the county.

“I’m sorry for that, but we made a business decision,” Orr said Wednesday. “We’ve been doing this for 30 years now for the county, and it’s getting too big for us.

“We think it’s best for us and for the county if they do something different now,” said Orr, adding that he’d be willing to work with commissioners and county staff.

Orr said the facility houses a “little bit of everything,” including more than 200 animals, including dogs, cats, chickens and goats.

According to the letter, the county has until 5 p.m. July 31 to “come and pick up the animals” from the shelter, which is at Orr Animal Hospital on Old Atlanta Road.

The shelter will continue to take in animals through July 31, and the county will continue to pay them per month for services until then.

In Tuesday’s work session, county commissioners discussed the possibilities of turning control of the shelter over to another organization, as well as asking NALAA to let the county rent the facility temporarily.

“This puts us between a rock and a hard place,” said Chairman Charles Laughinghouse. “That may have been the intent. I don’t know, but we would like to come to some amicable arrangement.”

Commissioners directed County Attorney Ken Jarrard to discuss matters with Orr’s attorney, Dana Miles.

Miles could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

“Right now, an ideal thing would be to continue the contract through the end of the year, which would give us time to try to get something in place,” Laughinghouse said after the work session.

“If that doesn’t work, we can maybe rent the facility, and we would have to staff it, which isn’t an easy thing to do in these times, trying to find money to do that.”

Laughinghouse said commissioners and staff were taken aback by the news.

“It comes as a surprise,” he said. “It doesn’t give us a lot of time to locate land, build a facility and staff it. So we’re going to have to investigate all the possible alternatives to tide us through.”

County purchasing director Donna Kukarola said she will speak to other organizations that may be able to run a facility for the county. She said the Humane Society handles facilities in neighboring Hall and Dawson counties.

“We don’t have a lot of time to find homes for these animals,” Commissioner Jim Harrell said. “We’re going to have to do something pretty quickly.”

E-mail Frank Reddy at