Animal control draws attention during Law Enforcement Committee meeting

Published 8:09 pm Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The continuing saga surrounding how to provide animal control to the county was another point of discussion during the Carter County Law Enforcement Committee, Health & Welfare; Rules & Bylaws, and Buildings & Grounds Committee meetings conducted by members of the Carter County Commission and others.

One of the biggest questions is who is to be called out when citizens call in regarding animals running loose in neighborhoods as well as aggressive animals.

Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford joined the meeting to discuss the sheriff’s department role when it came to calls coming into the 9-1-1 center.

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“It is not a law enforcement issue,” Lunceford stated. “We will respond first but there needs to be someone from the animal shelter to respond.

“This county cannot afford a full-time animal control to pick up stray dogs and other animals.”

The discussion came about after Commissioner Ginger Holdren was trying to get some answers to how animal control is being handled.

She also wanted to put to bed some rumors that had been spread in regards to how the Sheriff’s Department responded to calls to 9-1-1 from citizens.

“I have been getting calls from the public because there is no animal control,” Holdren said. “There are rumors that the Sheriff’s Department will not respond to calls.”

Sheriff Lunceford stated, “There are rumors but when you hear these you need to call me. The expectations are for my officers to go out. There is a cost associated with responding to helping citizens.”

Commissioner Robert Acuff said the problem was a big issue with communication.

According to Holdren, the Animal Shelter has requested two full-time and two part-time Animal Control Officers.

During the Health and Welfare portion of the meeting, Acuff gave a general broadband internet update.

“Ridgelink’s Brad Shields has reached out to the Governor’s office for funding,” said Acuff. “The pre-engineering has been completed for District 6. Right now we are just trying to get surveys filled out and back to Ridgelink.”

Finally, Mayor Patty Woodby shared the need for handicap-accessible restrooms on the first floor of the Carter County Courthouse. Currently, the only handicapped bathroom is located on the second floor for the public.