Animosity Over Animal Control - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/30/2007-Smith County

Animosity Over Animal Control

Animosity over animal control. Monday, an East Texas attorney leveled her frustrations with Smith County Commissioners. This story came to the forefront when commissioners updated their current leash laws. At the center of the problem: too many stray dogs and not enough room to take care of them. But that is just the surface of some much bigger problems that have now come to light.

For six weeks, attorney Deborah Tittle-Dobbs has taken it upon herself to change what she saw at the smith county humane society.

"When I saw the conditions out there. I immediately began asking questions. It's grown exponentially, the problems, the complications, the polarization between the entities working together," said Mrs. Dobbs.

The big problem, she says is animosity between animal control officers and the humane society. 

"For a number of years we have had a very adversarial relationship with animal control because of the supervisor," said Gayle Helms, Director of the Humane Society of Smith County.

On behalf of the Humane Society Monday, Dobbs presented commissioners startling allegations against animal control officers. Among them, reports of animals dropped off at shelters without complete paperwork, and even an allegation officers killed one family's pet.

"The Humane Society wants to take a stand that is totally unacceptable," said Helms, "we should be working for the same mission and that is to get the animals off the street, but we also need to hold people accountable."

"Our hopes is everyone can get on the same page and make some changes," said Dobbs.

The Northeast Texas Health District who employs the City of Tyler Animal Control officers responded by saying, quote, " It is time to deal professionally with the longstanding disagreement between the Humane Society and Animal Control."

By phone Monday afternoon, Brenda Elrod also told KLTV the health district is willing to work with the shelter to find out what is going on.

The Humane Society's board met to consider ending their contract with the City of Tyler tonight. However, no action has been taken yet.

Danielle Capper, Reporting.


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