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Just a Thought - More people needed for Animal Control

It’s time for both McMinnville and Warren County governments to unleash longstanding funding limits on Animal Control.

I don’t know why, but neither government seems to be in a hurry to increase the budgets of their Animal Control departments. If you feel your Animal Control services are sufficiently funded, I challenge you to spend an 8-hour day job shadowing your one and only full-time employee. I believe 8 hours would be more than enough to convince you that you are wrong.

I’d like to see both budgets expanded to include at least one more full-time person for safety reasons. They should never be out on calls alone. These should be two-person jobs. With the way the world is getting, I couldn’t imagine knocking on someone’s door and telling them you’re concerned for their animals not having food, water, or shelter. I can see how some people wouldn’t take that news well.

I’d be the first one to admit I’m slightly shielded from the seedier world we live in, but I’m smart enough to know there is danger lurking everywhere in this town. You don’t have to look any further than a docket to know it. Going anywhere unknown alone isn’t safe. If I were an Animal Control officer, I wouldn’t knock on any door or go onto anyone’s property by myself.

I always assumed a law enforcement officer went with them. Thanks to the whiner, a deputy, who complained about going out on animal calls, I now know that’s not common practice. It is on an as-needed basis.

What initially drew my attention to the situation was a request by Warren County Animal Control director Kim Pettrey during last year’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2017-18. She called having a second full-time person a “desperate need” within the department.

She wanted to increase the hours of one of her two part-time people and provide them with training. The county Health and Welfare Committee dismissed that request.

A few months later, I’m sitting in another county committee meeting listening to how Pettrey injured her back and needed surgery. Her return date was unknown. Committee members were attempting to figure out how to keep the department open without another full-time person. There are two part-time employees in the county department. However, neither are allowed to work full time and neither have been given the proper training to do Pettrey’s job.

While I haven’t heard the same complaints coming from the city’s Animal Control department, it only has one full-time employee. There really should be two. Aldermen have talked about making the city more pet friendly by expanding services to include a dog park and installing dog fountains at its other parks. Can we not show a little love and consideration to the homeless animals of the city by enclosing the kennels?
As budget discussions begin, please consider including an additional full-time Animal Control officer. Both departments would benefit greatly from it.

Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.