Animal welfare activists were somewhat crestfallen in the 12/10/14 Sarasota Board of County Commissioners meeting held in Venice. They had hoped to make some headway in getting the County to pass a ban on allowing shops to sell animals supplied by commercial breeding facilities, but instead got the back-burner put off that has become something of a ‘Business As Usual” response by the BCC to animal related issues.
The disheartening history of interaction between the BCC and animal welfare enthusiasts seems to be one of much foot dragging, little attention to supplied documentation, and meetings where it appears that the Commissioners aren’t interested enough to do their homework BEFORE the meeting so they’re prepared for some intelligent discussion and action.
Of course there is the consideration that (for commissioners) the one issue so earth-shaking to the activists is only one of many that commissioners have to deal with in this meeting, and is it even possible that they could take their seat that day having given each agenda item for the day thorough research and review? That’s a lot to expect of anyone.
So what is the answer to this? The obvious one is to provide help for the Commissioners in the form of advisory councils whose members are well versed in the subject and willing to do the legwork needed to unearth all the necessary information needed to grasp the situation … yet the BCC, without any explanation, disbanded their Animal Advisory Council of 20-years despite the fact that our County continues to face and will always face animal issues. As a member of that 20 year council I can tell you that any item the BCC needed explored was thoroughly researched with hours and hours of effort… so why was it dropped?
The combination of a lack of an advisory council and the gagging of public input by only allowing three minutes of one-sided, pre-item discussion in the meetings, coupled with the fact that meetings are held when working people have to take a day off to attend, is not resulting in government of and for and by the people of Sarasota County.
It’s time for a change, or the will of the people in the matter of not only animal welfare but all areas hasn’t a chance of being served here.