Step in the wrong direction for newly created Animal Services division

Burke County, GA (WJBF) - A setback for shelter volunteers who have been fighting for an Animal Services department in Burke County for years. Now, it is back to the drawing board for County Commissioners.

Last year, Burke County launched their first Animal Services division after years of complaints. Commissioners hired a director to get the program off the ground and after roughly 7 months, he submitted his resignation.

Monday was the first day Burke County Animal Services was without a director and NewsChannel 6’s Ashley Osborne talked to the County Chairman about their search to find a new one.

Peter Williams was the first person to sit in the director seat and he came in with 13 years’ worth of experience. We talked to him shortly after he took the position.

"We are working on a plan to build a shelter here,” Williams told NewsChannel 6. “It’s not a matter of putting a cement slab down, and putting two walls up. There's planning that is involved in getting a shelter built."

We are told lots of planning is what Williams has been doing for the last 7 months. He drafted a list of county animal ordinances since there are none at this time. He was also figuring out what kind of equipment they would need once a shelter is up and running; however, building one, has been pushed further into the future now that there is no one leading the new department.  

County Commission Chairman Allen DeLaigle tells NewsChannel 6, they are working on moving Animal Services forward.  

“I want the public to know that we are going to build an animal shelter. We are going to hire a director for it,” Chairman DeLaigle says.

The chairman says the people have spoken and they are asking for an Animal Control division so the county will deliver even though he does not see the need. “Me personally, I don't see any need for one,” says DeLaigle, “but the public wants one and that's what we're going to do. We're going to give it to them!”

Those who run volunteer shelters in burke county disagree. They tell NewsChannel 6 that an Animal Control division is desperately needed since the county has become a haven for dumping animals.

Samantha Holton runs a nonprofit shelter in Burke County. She says, “We cannot even begin to keep up with the amount of animals being dumped.” Holton continues saying, the problem will continue without laws and spay and neuter funding.

While this is a step in the wrong direction for Animal Services, Chairman DeLaigle points out there is positive progress happening in Burke County in other areas. For example, the construction of a brand new court house taking place right now in downtown Waynesboro. He also says they are working on the location and design for a YMCA.

The job description for an Animal Services director is posted on the Burke County website. They are looking for someone with a Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science or a related field, or someone with 6+ years of experience.




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