2013-06-12 / News

Groups differ on animal control

by Jazz Clark

Reuben Darby of animal control interest group DOG PAC came before the Morgan County Commission again to ask why a new animal control facility might not be considered.

Darby had asked for county funding and land to build a state-of-the-art facility which could more adequately house animals in the county.

He questioned why a new facility would require more staffing, and, by that logic, more funds.

“If you are going to hire a new control officer anyway, I don’t understand how the cleanup and care of a new facility would cost any more money than the old facility,” said Darby

By his calculations, it would probably cost less to heat and cool one new facility compared to two old ones.

Commissioner Brad Close reiterated that the two groups had different missions in regards to animal control.

The county is tasked with capturing and tagging stray dogs, and after keeping them for five days, to sell or humanely dispose of the animal in question.

“I believe we would be guilty of malfeasance of county funds if we were to use county resources in the way you describe,” said Close.

The only way in which Close would consider a partnership is PAC themselves building and running a facility, and Morgan County animal control handing over animals to their care at that new facility. Close does not want to run or build a new facility under the jurisdiction of Morgan County animal control.

Darby also wanted to state that, despite misconceptions, DOG PAC does not advocate a total no-kill facility.

“We’re realists. We understand not all dogs are adoptable and you have to do what has to be done,” Darby said.

Commissioner Bob Ford appreciates the work DOG PAC has done, but the current facility is rarely full and he doesn’t support using county funds for a new facility.

“This is a very emotional issue,” said Commissioner Ford. “But when it comes to taxpayer dollars and veterinarian costs versus putting the dog down it gets a lot more complicated.”

Ford clarified that when he earlier stated 100 dogs were returned to their rightful owners, he meant that 100 were returned to a person. Fewer than 10 dogs are truly euthanized a year.

Despite members of DOG PAC being told otherwise, County Animal Control has in the past and will continue to turn over animals to the Humane Society of Morgan County. Animal Control Officer Jason Pearce was mistaken in stating he is “not allowed to give Humane Society animals.”

The Commission has paid the bill for animals turned over to the Humane Society in the past, and both the Humane Society and independent group Friends For Life will continue to receive animals from the county after the mandatory five days.

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