Aiken Sheriffs may take over Animal Control

By: Kristen Cosby
By: Kristen Cosby

Sheriff's deputies rescuing cats stuck in trees?

It may soon be part of their job description.

But could it keep you from getting prompt help the next time you're in a car accident?

That's the debate in the Aiken County Council right now.

From drug busts and traffic stops...to rescuing a puppy?

It could be the newest job for Aiken County deputies.

Animal Control officers are finding more and more that mean dogs are used to cover up crime, like meth labs or prostitution rings.

It's why the Animal Control Advisory Committee recommends the sheriff's department take over animal control enforcement.

But what if there's a call for a loose kitten, or a dog out of his fence? The council is trying to decide if those jobs are big enough for a deputy who could be helping people.

We asked some Aiken County residents what they think about the possible change.

"It could be a good idea because we live in Aiken County and we see so many dogs going in herds," says Mary Boyle.

"I love animals, but I think the sheriff's department needs to be here to take care of people," Terri Flippin says.

If this happens, the current animal control officers would have to be trained as sheriff's deputies, and other people would need to be hired to run the shelter, costing the county more money.

"I think the sheriff's department and animal control should work together and form a program to benefit the situation," says Lynn LaChance.

And for now, that's what they're doing.

Council members are still "trapped" in committee, figuring out what works best for the people of Aiken County...and their furry friends.

A County Council committee met with Sheriff Hunt last night and decided they'll need to meet again to figure how exactly how this will work.

Right now the council hasn't made a formal offer to the sheriff.


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