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Johnston County Having Problems With Pet Control

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Animal Control officers have been deputized in Johnston County.
SMITHFIELD — An overload of animals in Johnston Countyis forcing leaders there to make changes. The problem is people who lettheir pets run loose, even pets that are accused of biting people.

The workload was just too much for the county's two animal controlofficers, so they called in officers of a different sort to help with theproblem.

John Benson had been an animal control officer for more than six yearsand 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 themmore authority.

While it may sound like that would add to the workload, Benson says ithas actually made his job easier. A year ago, animal control was gettingfar too many calls for the two officers to handle, so the sheriff'sdepartment stepped in, adding three new officers and new equipment. Theofficers now have several tranquilizer guns to use when capturing possiblydangerous animals.

Area residents, in addition to being bothered by animals running wild,are also concerned about the threat of rabies. Resident Larry Jernigansays the new system has made a difference.

Benson says that, even though he's doing the same work, there's morehelp and having the extra authority helps.

The officers say there is still one difficult part of the job thathasn't been made easier with the changes. Most of the animals theytranquilize and capture will be euthanized rather than adopted.

Photographer:Mike Joyner

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