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Humane Society wants another animal control officer

November 30, 1999|By TARA REILLY

The Humane Society of Washington County is asking that the County Commissioners hire another animal control officer to help respond to more calls and other increasing duties.

Paul Miller, executive director of the Humane Society, made the request during Tuesday's Washington County Commissioners meeting.

Miller also asked the commissioners to increase from $38,000 to $50,000 the amount the county spends to provide county residents discounts on the cost of spaying and neutering pets.

In total, the Humane Society is asking the commissioners for $1.25 million for the fiscal year 2008 budget, which begins July 1. The request is about $143,000 more than the $1.1 million the commissioners spent for the current year.

The Humane Society is a private nonprofit agency that contracts with the county to provide animal control services.

Commissioners President John F. Barr expressed doubt Friday about whether the county would be able to fund the agency's request.

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"With all the budget restraints that we have, it's going to be difficult," Barr said.

Barr said he hasn't yet decided whether he supports the hiring of another animal control officer.

"Personally, I'm not sure I do," Barr said. "I need to have more information."

Barr said he wanted details about the duties of an animal control officer.

Miller said it's a challenge to provide around-the-clock animal control coverage with the three officers currently on staff, so a fourth is needed. That officer also would require a vehicle and equipment, putting the total cost for the position at $88,500, Miller said.

In addition to more calls, Miller said more than 60 animals have been designated as "vicious and dangerous" over the last two years. Most of those cases have been appealed before the Animal Control Authority, adding to the duties of the officers, he said.

"These cases along with barking, cruelty and bite reports entail more hours of investigation, report writing, documentation and appearances at hearings," Miller said in a written presentation.

The County Commissioners are in the process of reviewing the county budget for fiscal year 2008, and made no decision on the Humane Society's requests.

Statistics provided by Miller show the Humane Society took in 4,848 animals in fiscal year 2006, including 3,102 cats and 1,294 dogs. The information states that 3,021 animals were euthanized, 993 were adopted and 405 were reunited with their owner. The other animals either were placed in breed-specific shelters, died, were missing, stolen or returned to the wild.

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