The age limit to volunteer at Warren County Animal Control and Adoption Center might be lowered to 16, but not 15.
“We agreed on 15 and up, but the attorney wants it to be 16 and up,” said Animal Control director Kim Pettrey to members of the county Health and Welfare Committee.
Under consideration is a waiver signed by parents or legal guardians that will allow teens to volunteer at the facility. At this time, volunteers must be 18 years old and up.
While committee members previously voted to lower the age to 15, legal advice indicated 16 would be better.
Committee member Blaine Wilcher made a motion to change the volunteer age to 16. The change drew unanimous support from fellow committee members Michael Martin, chair, Teddy Boyd, Linda Jones and Tommy Savage.
A waiver for older teens was a request from Pettrey who said she had received calls from parents wanting to know if their children could volunteer in order to complete their community service hours needed for either their school-related group or college scholarship requirements.
However, Pettrey had to deny all requests. While the county began allowing Animal Control volunteers in 2013, restrictions placed at that time were that all volunteers must be at least 18 years old and sign a waiver. No provision, until now, was included allowing underage individuals to volunteer with parental permission.
Pettrey also presented a monthly report for October. According to the report, the department responded to 38 calls, took in 74 dogs and 32 cats, returned one each to their owners, had 15 dogs and 13 cats adopted, sent 66 dogs to rescue, and had 11 cats die of natural causes. No cats or dogs were euthanized.
Pettrey says the natural cause deaths were from upper respiratory infection.
“Upper respiratory infections have been crazy since I had to move all the cats into the same room,” said Pettrey.
In an effort to reduce the number of healthy cats and stem the spread of the disease, the department offered to waive the adoption fee for any cat that had been medically altered not at the county’s expense. Those cats would have had a $10 adoption fee.
“I put it on Facebook that I had a lot of cats that were fixed at no cost to us and that I was waiving the fee,” said Pettrey. “All of my cats that were spayed or neutered are now gone. My population is very low. They went to be barn cats and house cats and outside cats, but at least they aren’t living in a cage. We probably adopted about 40 cats.”
Parents and legal guardians would have to contact the Warren County Executive’s Office to obtain a waiver, once they are available. Being a policy change, the measure must receive Warren County Court approval.