East Texas Counties Discuss Animal Control Problems - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/5/07-Cherokee County

East Texas Counties Discuss Animal Control Problems

Hundreds of stray dogs and cats are picked up off East Texas streets every day. It's an issue East Texas animal shelters and Smith County commissioners say can no longer be ignored.   For the past few weeks, commissioners have discussed ways to combat the county's dog problems, and Monday asked the Humane Society of Smith County for help.  

The Humane Society takes in about 50 animals a day. With capacity just more than 100, Executive Director Gayle Helms says the shelter is full, but they do want to help by bringing animal control efforts under the Humane Society's roof.

"We are hoping to have animal control for the city and the county on our property, and also to employ one or two animal control officers to handle these cases of animal abuse that's right now kind of on the low end of the totem poll for law enforcement," said Helms. "This is what we do for a living, so I think if we could add some guidance to county animal control, then that's what we are willing to do."  

Smith County is not the only East Texas county fighting animal control problems.  On Saturday, KLTV told you about H&M Crates, a factory in Cherokee County that has turned into a dumping ground for dogs.  The sight was just too hard for Pat Phlieger of Dialville too bear.

"It's sad because the amount of suffering that goes on here every single day with these dogs is just unreal," said Phlieger. Help in Cherokee County, however, is not just around the corner. There is no animal control officer employed by the county, so people like Phlieger who want to help don't know where to go.  It's a complaint, County Commissioner Mary Gregg says is all too common.

"We know people are interested in it, and we know there's a problem," said Gregg. "It's just that we can't afford it at this time."  Klein Animal Shelter in Jacksonville takes in around 40 stray animals a day from all over Cherokee County.  Shelter Supervisor Angela Wallace says the county needs an animal control officer, and like Smith County, they want to help.

"It's going to take probably up to a two year process to do it because we have to get the funding for it and the training for the officers," said Wallace.  Even though it's at capacity, the Klein Animal Shelter says it's willing to work with surrounding agencies to help the starving dogs in Dialville. In the end, however, the shelter says it comes down to pet owners being more responsible by both spay or neutering and vaccinating their pets.

Molly Reuter, Reporting. mreuter@kltv.com

 

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