Commission votes to keep Tenon in animal shelter job | News
Macon-Bibb County Commission voted 7-1 Wednesday to keep Sarah Tenon as head of Macon-Bibb County's animal shelter.
The board voted around 6:30 p.m., ending two weeks of uncertainty for Tenon.
Mayor Robert Reichert made his recommendation to the commission Wednesday afternoon to keep Tenon.
"There was not a majority of support on the commission for the initial candidate. Rather than come back and try to force an issue, after talking to some commissioners, there were some deeply held feelings on both sides of the issue. We didn't think any votes were going to change so we came back with the current director," Reichert told 13WMAZ's Anita Oh.
The candidates were Tenon, who's held the job for a year and a half, or Van VanDeWalker, a former shelter staffer who is supported by many animal-adoption activists.
Last month, Reichert recommended naming VanDeWalker for the job. But the county commission voted to put his choice on hold for more discussion.
Since then, VanDeWalker and his supporters have lobbied for him on social media and even run TV ads.
VanDeWalker supporters say the Commission went against the community's choice by voting in Tenon as director.
Commissioner Mallory Jones, the only vote of support for VanDeWalker, said some commissioners may be voted out as a result, but he would not comment on specific people.
"They didn't listen to their constituents. I think you're going to see some new faces in three years," Jones said.
VanDeWalker says what the community wants is a low-kill shelter that works with rescue groups to get animals adopted.
"[The Commission] failed the community but more importantly they failed the animals that are paying with their lives," VanDeWalker said.
"We were promised as a community that we would have a good shelter and these animals would be taken care of. We believe that Van can do that. We deserve that, the animals deserve that. Macon doesn't need to be a high-kill animal facility," Becky Angelo, a board member of Central Georgia C.A.R.E.S, said.
Tenon, who came to Macon after running the shelter in Mobile, Alabama, has declined comment.
Supporters say she's done a good job of managing the troubled shelter; critics says she's alienated the animal activists by euthanizing too many animals instead of promoting adoption.