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A proposal is before Brunswick County commissioners that recommends the sheriff’s office take over operations at Brunswick County Animal Services.
We encourage commissioners to approve this venture when they meet to discuss it on June 4.
After the Brunswick County Board of Health approved the recommendation, sheriff’s officials quickly moved into action. Already, non-violent inmates have been taken out of the local detention center and put to work scrubbing and cleaning every nook and cranny of the animal services building.
First Sgt. Tommy Tolley, with the county’s K-9 unit, was recently in the shelter bathing a dog that was ready for adoption.
Increasing adoptions, Tolley reassured, is one of the goals for the changeover.
Using sheriff’s office resources, which will hopefully include trained volunteers, may likely free up some of the current animal services employees to focus their attention on other areas, such as responding to community complaints, education, animal socialization and adoptions.
It can also give citizens confidence that plans are in place to swiftly deal with those who abuse or neglect animals or who ignore various state and county ordinances regarding animal care and welfare.
Previously, animal services officials have said it has been difficult to enforce these issues. With budget and staffing cuts Brunswick County Animal Services has experienced in recent years, it makes sense that this would continue to be a problem, without a viable alternative like this proposal. We think many people who push the envelope with animal services employees will take the issue more seriously when, and if, a sheriff’s deputy shows up.
And best of all, some local animal groups support the change, hoping it will mean better quality of care for animals that come to the shelter, higher adoption rates and lower euthanasia rates.
More changes are planned, including more use of a new, fenced-in recreation area, which will get many dogs out of the kennels and into a space where they can exercise and work on socialization and behavior issues.
Officials also say there will be more focus on adoptions, including reaching out to animal groups and having community adoption fairs, something that has been challenging for the existing staff to do.
For many years county officials and community activism groups have been brainstorming ways to improve quality of care issues for abused, abandoned and neglected animals, while doing so in a cost-effective manner. It seems like now is the time to give this proposal a chance.
We hope county commissioners will see the value in this change, and encourage them to vote in support of it next month. And if it moves forward, we encourage all those involved to work together, to rely on the resources and knowledge of local animal groups, and to continue to improve the quality of life for animals in Brunswick County.