Mayor issues mea culpa on animal shelter comments

Published 6:00 pm Thursday, September 15, 2022

NATCHEZ — Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson issued an apology to anyone he offended with his comments about the Humane Society.

Speaking during the Board of Aldermen meeting on Tuesday, Gibson said during the last three months, the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society shelter has declined every animal that Animal Control Officer Nash Sanders has taken to it. 

Mayor Dan Gibson

Gibson said the city provides $25,000 per year to the shelter and he questioned that expenditure if the shelter does not accept animals from the city’s animal control.

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“During the last three months, they (Natchez-Adams County Humane Society) have declined to take a single animal brought to them by the city. What are we supposed to do when our Humane Society, which we help fund with taxpayer dollars, refuses to take a single animal from animal control?” Gibson asked.

At about 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, facing hard criticism on social media from volunteers and supporters of the Natchez-Adams Humane Society, Gibson said he did not mean to offend.

“The Natchez Adams County Humane Society has provided an invaluable service to the citizens of Natchez and Adams County for many years,” Gibson wrote on his Facebook page. “I would like to apologize if my comments at the last board meeting came across as an attack on the Humane Society. I am so very grateful to everyone involved in running and supporting our Humane Society. Never did I intend to set off such controversy. 

“But I think the end result will be very positive and result in more support for the shelter. Just understand that I am passionate when it comes to animals and will do everything that I can to make the situation better for our city.

“During my administration, we have passed a more robust animal control ordinance and hired a new animal control officer. After seeing the volume and times of the calls (most often in the evening hours and the weekend), it has become very clear that we need to bring on a certified animal control officer in addition to our current one.  I am happy to announce that in the FY 2023 budget that we just passed, we have set aside funding for this position.

“While all of these are tremendous, positive steps, we have more work to do. It is incredibly hard to enforce our ordinances when we have nowhere to house abused and abandoned animals. This is going to take a community wide effort. I look forward to meeting with members of the Humane Society board to work towards a solution. It should be most evident that we need all hands on deck.

“Animals are addressed in one of the earliest verses in the Bible when God gave Adam dominion over his creations. We are commanded to protect his creations and not treat them with cruelty and neglect. It breaks my heart when I see someone mistreat a harmless and vulnerable gift from God. We must leave no stone unturned when it comes to protecting our companions. I often say that Natchez Deserves More. That phrase does not apply only to our two-legged citizens, because most definitely, Natchez Animals Deserve More!” Gibson wrote.