During a recent work session, Cherokee County Administrator Tim Burgess said he had compiled proposals from each commissioner into one six-page ordinance with 11 sections. During the regular session, the commission also gave Cherokee County Sheriff Jeff Shaver permission to hire an animal control officer.
I want you to look this (proposal) over, said Burgess. Im not going to recommend that you place this out for public view until you have a chance to review it yourself. If there are any additions, corrections or anything that you see that needs to be corrected, please let me know.
The proposed ordinance, Burgess said, will encompass the unincorporated areas of Cherokee County. But any municipality that wishes to adopt the ordinance can do so, Burgess said.
The commission, Burgess said, had two options in hiring an animal control officer. The officer could come under the jurisdiction of the sheriffs department or the county commission.
When we started on this venture, the first thing we wanted to do was establish an ordinance so we could give ourselves some direction on which way we wanted to go, said Burgess. This is step one of that process. Step two is hiring an animal control officer because the ordinance provides for that. Step one and step two can be accomplished through passing the ordinance.
An animal control officer is necessary to enforce the ordinance, Burgess said.
Im recommending that we hire an animal control officer, said Burgess. Youve got to have office space and youve got to have supplies because we expect that officer to keep records. Youve got to have a telephone, a place for the public to call in and make their complaints and what not. You are talking about an officer, maybe a staff person. When we get a facility, the facility can handle those calls and they can contact the animal control officer.
The animal control officer will require continued education training like other law enforcement officers, Burgess said.
We will have to equip that person with a vehicle, probably a pickup truck with cages on it, said Burgess. I dont know the specifics of that yet, but we will have to have at least that much. We will have to have gasoline, utilities, insurance, and all those things. Hiring an animal control officer will be a cost to the county. You are looking at somewhere between $35,000 to $45,000 for salary and benefits plus the other items that go along with it. So be aware of that.
After hiring the officer, the next step is a shelter facility, Burgess said.
Until we get a shelter built, we will have to contract with somebody temporarily to take those animals, said Burgess. And I think that I pretty much know that for whoever we contract with, those animals are going to have to fall under their rules to be kept there. That is something to consider when we go to asking people.
Burgess recommended that commissioners ask personnel at various shelters they have visited what kind of services they provide and what, if any, type of temporary agreement they could offer to Cherokee County.
I have visited two shelters, said Burgess. Both had good points, both have bad. I have also visited a couple of land sites where a possible shelter may be constructed. At this particular time, we are looking at the pros and cons of where that shelter may be located. And those are some of the things I am recommending to you as a commission to at this time to start considering. Lets put our heads together and move on with it.