DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - It was a billed as a community conversation centered on developments of a major soccer complex in DeKalb County. But many people there were advocates for a new animal shelter which they say is being over shadowed by the new pro soccer complex.
"I think we're going to be screwed and I'm really tired of being at the end of the dog", said Judy Simon.
She was among members of the group "Advocates for DeKalb Animals" at the community meeting centered around the already approved pro-soccer complex, a partnership between the county and Falcons' owner Arthur Blank's Atlanta United Soccer. They're concerned the new pro-soccer complex is sidelining their priority of a new Animal shelter to replace the aging one.
"The new shelter is badly needed. It's been in the works for a long time and county leadership appears to be foot dragging while at the same time leaping head forward into this agreement for the soccer deal," said Greg Myberg, with Advocates for DeKalb Animals.
Myberg said the momentum of understanding for the new $12 million soccer complex includes a provision that requires tear down of the animal shelter and other county facilities on the new complex grounds near Memorial Drive and Interstate 285. The MOU states a new shelter would be relocated near Peachtree DeKalb Airport at a cost of $10 million.
"I share their concerns I'm going to be watching money like a hawk and making sure we allocate all the necessary funds that need to go into build the right size sufficiently large animal shelter," said DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester.
In a statement the county said, the DeKalb Purchasing and Contracting Department is proceeding with a competitive procurement process, which paves the way to build this new facility near DeKalb Peachtree Airport. Until the new facility is complete and operational, there are no plans to close or demolish the current facility.
Still advocates for a new shelter remain unconvinced.
"We are not playing with the right dogs at DeKalb Animal Services, we need to play with the big dogs who have the money because we're not getting anywhere," said Judy Simon.