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North Augusta Animal Control understaffed

Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 12:56 AM EDT
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NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - North Augusta has found itself dealing with a rabid fox and two loose donkeys, all in the same week. And if that wasn’t enough, the city’s resources when it comes to animal control are very limited.

When animals like donkeys get loose or a rabid fox is running around, it highlights a bigger issue in North Augusta, there’s only one animal control officer who has limited resources and a small budget. Friends of North Augusta, a local organization, is working to change that.

Donkeys loose roaming the streets of North Augusta.

“I’ve been working here for 26 years and at this point I haven’t had any donkeys running loose in the city,” said Mike Strauss, North Augusta’s sole animal control officer.

That changed Wednesday night for Strauss.

“Provided a little bit of entertainment they’re really strong animals and it was a unique experience for sure,” he said.

He helped get the donkeys safely returned home. But, it’s not the biggest pain in the you know what he’s had to handle. Earlier this week a rabid fox bit a 68-year-old man and a dog in the city limits.

They’ve had 16 intakes to the shelter this month and 63 in total this year, and this is only part of officer Strauss’s job responsibilities.

“I think with any job there are going to be days where you have an accelerated workload there’s some days that you don’t but that comes with any job in the city I mean everybody from the trash truck to the parks and recreation worker everyone has their busy part of the year and you have to just adjust to that,” he said.

But FONAA would like the city to change that and put more resources towards helping the city’s animals and cut down on the stray population.

“There’s a large number of people that don’t have their pets spayed and nurtured. They don’t have their pets up to date on vaccinations and those are things that from a public safety standpoint are hard to address,” said Stephanie Ford, Past Lead for Friends of North Augusta Animals

Even harder to address with a $36,000 budget and just one animal control officer. Even the cities organization chart puts animal control at the bottom. Frustrating with Aiken County’s much larger shelter with so many more resources just up the road.

“We want to work with the county to expand the services that were able to offer in North Augusta, so ideally officer Strauss will receive assistance from the county in dealing with animal control issues and our citizens will be able to use Aiken County Animal Shelter and not just North Augusta Animal Control,” said Ford.

And with a new mayor, city administrator, and council members FONAA is encouraged by the possibilities and hoping more people in the city will care about the animals just as much as officer Strauss.

And Stephanie says that if you want to get involved with their organization to message them on their Facebook Friends of North Augusta Animals.

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