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Marion County Fiscal Court intends to begin picking up dead animals, possibly as soon as next week.
"It looks like things are coming together where maybe we can begin the service next week," Marion County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly said Monday afternoon.
During its April 2 meeting, the fiscal court approved an emergency declaration to waive the competitive bidding process and allow the purchase of a vehicle for removing dead animals. The emergency declaration notes that the "prompt removal and proper disposal of dead livestock" promotes water quality and public health.
Nation Brothers had a contract to remove dead animals from the county, but Nation Brothers discontinued the service Feb. 27, citing increased operating costs related to an FDA regulation requiring the removal of the brain and spine from any bovine animal before it could be rendered.
The county had been paying Nation Brothers close to $4,000 per month for the service.
With the emergency declaration, the county was able to purchase a 2004 International 4300 from Nation Brothers at a cost of approximately $37,000.
Mattingly said this is the same vehicle Nation Brothers had been using to pick up animals in the county.
Before the county can use the vehicle, it must pass a state inspection. Mattingly said the inspection has been scheduled for today, April 8.
The county has an agreement to take its dead animals to the Nelson County landfill. Since the animals will not be rendered, the removal of the brain and spine will not be necessary.
The fiscal court also unanimously approved the following guidelines for its service:
• The animals to be picked up by the service are cattle, horses, swine (over 300 pounds), ostrich, alpaca, goats and sheep.
• Animals must be dead. County workers will not euthanize animals.
• Livestock producers must call for pick-up within 48 hours of the death of the animal. (Keep in mind that over-deterioration of an animal will render hoisting, and therefore removal of the animal, impossible.)
• A $20 fee will be charged for each site visit to remove animals. (The fee will offset the costs of transporting the animals and the fee the county will pay to the Nelson County landfill.)
Judge Mattingly said the county would prefer for the fee to be paid by check. The fee must either be paid on site (a check can be left in a waterproof container, such as an old coffee can with a lid, or by invoice from the Marion County Fiscal Court).
• If a livestock producer is delinquent on animal pick-up billing, no animals will be picked up at that location until the producer is current on his or her bill.
• Animals to be removed shall be placed on a hard surface, such as gravel or blacktop, near the front of the property and immediately adjacent to a public road or easily accessible from a hard surface on the property.
• It is the owner's responsibility to position animals for accessible pick up.
• County workers will not go through any unopened gate or remove animals from any enclosure with live animals.
Any producer requesting the service, should call between 7 a.m. and noon Monday through Friday. The phone number will have an answering machine. The number will be announced when the service is available.
No dead animals will be picked up on weekends or holidays.