Animal Control may become its own department Comments 12
February 20, 2011 3:26 AM
With population growth and a rise in recent animal incidents, Onslow County officials say Animal Control would serve residents better as an independent creature. Animal Control has been a division of the county health department since its inception, but a vote Monday by the Board of Commissioners could change that, establishing the Onslow County Animal Services Department and creating a new volunteer position of animal cruelty investigator. Animal Control has historically been a part of the health department because of the role played by the county health director in rabies and vicious animal cases; but as Onslow County grows more urban, the challenges facing Animal Control have increased, said County Manager Jeff Hudson. “Animal populations have grown with our citizen population,” he said. “Moreover, the amounts of abuse, neglect and animal attacks have appeared to rise over time.” In developing an answer to the problem, Onslow County government has the option of enhancing Animal Control by transitioning the agency to its own department, which would provide both road-officer services and operations at the county animal shelter, according to information provided by county staff. Hudson said an advisory board would be created to allow residents a voice in how the new department would be run. The department would coordinate volunteers and nonprofit agencies to supplement county employees, especially the animal cruelty investigator — a position recognized by state law — who will work with law enforcement to identify and help prosecute cases of neglect or brutality towards animals. The new department would be led by the new position of Animal Services Director with administrative and financial duties handled by an administrative assistant. Hudson said the change would cost $41,000 for the rest of the fiscal year and then around $99,000 each year after that with most of the money going to pay for two new positions. "A portion of that would be off-set by fees collected by the new department," he said. The commissioners will discuss this and other matters Monday during their regularly scheduled 7 p.m. meeting at Jacksonville City Hall on New Bridge Street. Contact Lindell Kay at 910-219-8455 or [email protected].