Commissioners address animal control issues

McDonald was one commissioner to raise concerns about Worth County Animal Control / Sarah Bleau

Worth County Commissioners Mack Sutton (District 2) and Billy McDonald (District 4) want issues they see with the county's Animal Control department addressed and taken care of.

At Thursday's Board of Commissioner's meeting, Sutton and McDonald discussed a recent event where an animal attacked and killed a resident's horse. The two say a dog attacked the horse, but when animal control was called out they did not show up until the following day. They say Chairman Mike Medders and Commissioner Bettye Bozeman (District 3) told Animal Control that it was not a real emergency and to not go immediately.

Bozeman and Medders both say that Animal Control does not handle horse situations and that during this particular incident there was no dog on the scene. They also say a veterinarian was already on the scene, so there was no need for Animal Control. A local law enforcement representative at the meeting confirmed these details.

Worth County Attorney C.A. Miller says he agrees with the call made by Medders and Bozeman: He says if there were no visible dogs then there is no emergency and nothing for a dog catcher to do.

"You got to have common sense," Miller said during the meeting.

McDonald says there are a number of other issues that caused him to raise concern about Animal Control and the Worth County Humane Society sharing duties, one of those being where McDonald says an employee did not want to be bothered with an animal call regarding strays while on the other line. An authority in the public audience says that the employee was working on a call about a dog bite case but did later respond to the stray animal call.

He says he does not mind the two entities being combined but that duties should be clearly assigned instead of being split in half among the people working them.

"It appears they're more concerned to protect the animals from the people than animal control is about protecting the people from the animals," says McDonald.

Medders says McDonald and Sutter need to be directly communicating their concerned with Animal Control and the humane society before bringing them before the board.

Worth County Attorney C.A. Miller says there will always be tension between dog lovers and those fearing dangerous dogs. He says it is too expensive to hire a person who is a full-time dog catcher.

Two months ago, Medders says the board voted to put Worth County Animal Control and the Humane Society under the same control.