Animal Control Director says the calls for service have increased over the years, but not the staff.
Frederick, Md (KM) Frederick County Animal Control Director Linda Shea’s request for an additional animal control officer is contained in the County Executive’s proposed fiscal year 2020 budget which was introduced on Monday. .
She says there’s an urgent need for another officer. “When I started 2005, we were running around 6,000 calls for service per year. And at that point, we had six officers and one sergeant,”: says Shea. “And here we are 14 years later, we’re running almost 11,000 calls for service per year, and we are still at six animal control officers and one sergeant.”
Shea says the shift they work in house is 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM, but are on call overnight. Like many occupations, people get sick, have babies and are out for other reasons, and that puts a strain on the other animal control officers. “They’re essential personnel so they have to respond when it’s snowing, when it’s weekends, holidays and so forth. So the number of calls–just the volume–necessitates another animal control officer,” says Shea.
Animal control officers respond to calls about dogs on the loose, animals in vehicles on extremely hot or extremely cold days and abandoned animals. In addition, they respond with fire and rescue personnel on fires or other emergencies where animals may be in danger.
Shea says animal control officers also respond to some incidents involving farm animals or wild animals. “If a wild animals like a bird or a bear or a skunk or a possum are injured or looking sick or possibly rabid, then we will respond,” she says. “The larger animals–wildlife of any nature–if they’re a nuisance wildlife, Department of Natural Resources handles those calls.”
In additional to another officer, Shea would like to seem some upgrades to the animal shelter on Rosemont Avenue in Frederick which dates back to the 1970’s. . “We have older housing facilities for cats. We have stainless steel for cats. We’ve got chain link and cinder block for dogs,” she says. :”Technology and studies and other shelters that are newer have different technology implemented to improve the conditions to reduce behavior issues.”
She says she would like to see those improvements made to the shelter at a future date.
Currently, the shelter houses not only dogs and cats, but rabbits, hamsters, gerbils and even some snakes.
By Kevin McManus