Sheriff will help with after-hours animal control issues
Nearly two years after the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department handed its animal control duties back to the County Commission, the law department has agreed to assist with emergency animal issues when the county’s dog warden is off duty or unavailable.
Sheriff Vince Shambaugh signed a memorandum of understanding with the commissioners last Thursday, December 1.
In the document, Shambaugh said his department would respond to 911 calls concerning animal control/public safety when an animal control officer was not on duty. Calls with no bearing on public safety will be referred back to animal control or another agency, the agreement said.
Sheriff’s deputies will also “secure the dog either at the citizen’s residence or at the animal control kennel,” depending on the availability of transportation, said the document.
Any actions taken by the Sheriff’s department in regards to animal control must be reported to the animal control officer, said the agreement.
County sets own guidelines
For its part, the Morgan County Commission clarified several procedures for its own Animal Control officer.
The memo established animal control service hours as Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., plus Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Exceptions would be made on county-recognized holidays or approved time off for the animal control officer.
The commissioners agreed to notify 911 when its animal control officer is not on duty, so calls could be route appropriately.
The dog warden is also required to provide an updated message on the animal control phone line alerting citizens about times of service and who to call if an officer is unavailable.
Under the agreement, the animal control officer must return all calls from the public before noon of the next business day.
In the past several months, the commissioners have talked about complaints from citizens who had not received a prompt response to calls about animal issues.
The county will make its animal control van, equipment, kennel and other supplies available to the Sheriff’s Department under the partnership, which goes into effect immediately.