Johnston County Having Problems With Pet Control
Posted November 20, 1997
SMITHFIELD — An overload of animals in Johnston County is forcing leaders there to make changes. The problem is people who let their pets run loose, even pets that are accused of biting people.
The workload was just too much for the county's two animal control officers, so they called in officers of a different sort to help with the problem.
John Benson had been an animal control officer for more than six years and says his work days are non-stop with up to 30 calls a day sometimes. He says now, the animal control officers have been deputized, giving them more authority.
While it may sound like that would add to the workload, Benson says it has actually made his job easier. A year ago, animal control was getting far too many calls for the two officers to handle, so the sheriff's department stepped in, adding three new officers and new equipment. The officers now have several tranquilizer guns to use when capturing possibly dangerous animals.
Area residents, in addition to being bothered by animals running wild, are also concerned about the threat of rabies. Resident Larry Jernigan says the new system has made a difference.
Benson says that, even though he's doing the same work, there's more help and having the extra authority helps.
The officers say there is still one difficult part of the job that hasn't been made easier with the changes. Most of the animals they tranquilize and capture will be euthanized rather than adopted.