THIS IS AN OPINION BLOG THAT RECENTLY WAS POSTED IN THE DAILY
A new approach to animal control
While additional bureaucracy is not usually productive, Onslow County’s newly created Animal Services Department may be a rare exception.
The new department replaces Animal Control, previously housed under the county’s Health Department, which controls a full menu of health-related services that range from restaurant inspections to vaccinations to septic tank permits.
In its former guise, Animal Control has served mostly to house animals that were turned in or picked up until either their owners claimed them, they were adopted or they were killed. Because so many dogs and cats entering the kennel are unwanted, the vast majority is put to death.
Animal Control also investigates animal cruelty and neglect cases, something that, given the vast scope of their work and limited manpower, has often proved overwhelming for the small division. County authorities are hoping that revamping the department will allow deeper insight into those cases.
The county’s new approach appears sensible, particularly in one regard. County Manager Jeff Hudson says that the department will incorporate volunteers into its structure — something that has not been fully explored in the past, but has much promise.
Onslow Animal Control
Volunteers are usually individuals who bring both enthusiasm and passion to their chosen causes. In many cases, they have spent years educating themselves in the field. Harnessing this depth of knowledge for the good of the county and its furry residents can only bring a win-win to the effort.
Animal proponents have long pushed for changes in the operation of Animal Control that could result in the elevation of the level of care and reduce the number of animals that end up passing through the shelter’s doors.
Trap-neuter-return programs, or TNR, for example, have been shown to not only reduce the number of feral cats in an area, but also reduce the number of animals put down. It’s also cost effective. There are additional ideas that could benefit both the taxpayers and the pets born in or brought to this area.
New ideas could help shape Onslow’s animal control into a more positive proposition.
No one is suggesting that the current employees of Animal Control haven’t done a good job with what they’ve been given, but certainly this is one area where Onslow County can do better. By throwing the doors open to new ideas and new voices, the county shows it is poised on the threshold of a more humane era, and that’s good for everyone.