A lack of sufficient manpower in the Union County Animal Control Department is forcing the Union County Sheriff’s Office to divert personnel from protecting the public from criminals to rounding up stray animals Sheriff David Taylor says.
Taylor told Union County Council Tuesday evening that while the City of Union has two animal controls officers covering a seven square-mile area, the county has only one animal control officer responsible for 514 square miles. He said this often means the burden of responding to animal control calls falls on his deputies who have to spend time rounding up stray animals they’d normally spend patrolling, enforcing the law and responding to crimes.
From May 1 to Aug. 7, Taylor said his deputies responded to a total 125 animal control calls. He said that on those calls, deputies had to round up 62 cows, five horses, three goats, a pig, two chickens, 12 snakes, three cats and 37 dogs.
“This takes our people off serving and protecting the public and on to doing cattle roundups,” Taylor said. “These are just the calls we responded to,” Taylor said. “Those numbers don’t include the calls the animal control officer responded to. You need to get her some help.”
Taylor asked council to any options to provide assistance to the animal control officer that would allow his deputies to perform the duties for which they were trained. While his office will respond if needed to an animal control situation, Taylor it’s first priority is law enforcement and the protection of the people of Union County. He said this means that if a serious crime occurs while his deputies are handling a animal control situation, they will leave the scene to respond to the crime.
“If we are in the middle of trying to get the cow out of the middle of the road when we get a shooting call in Carlisle, we will leave the cow and go to Carlisle,” Taylor said. “We’re trying to prevent somebody from getting serious injury from hitting a cow, but we don’t have the manpower to handle animal control calls and police Union County.”