Animal Control Decisions Made - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/27/2007-Smith County

Animal Control Decisions Made

Amidst allegations of animal abuse in his department, Tyler Animal Control supervisor Gary Chambers has been reassigned.

Monday, Smith County made a decision to allow the Sheriff's Department to handle animal control for the entire county. 

Starting October 1st, all animal control for Smith County will be under one roof.

"About a month ago, the County Judge and one of the commissioners asked if we would take over the stray animals, because the Sheriff is already responsible for one or more horse, cow, sheep, swine, or goat," said Sheriff J.B. Smith.  "So now we're gonna add dogs to that."

They will take the responsibility from the Constable's Office. The department will have three animal control officers and one full time deputy to handle investigations.

"We'll have funds for three new trucks, hopefully. And with these three new officers we hope to have seven day a week coverage," Sheriff Smith said.

 But October first is not that far away, and officials said it may take a little more time to get all the pieces in place.

"We're going in it with a positive attitude and, hopefully, we can help the residents of Smith County." said Sheriff Smith.

The officers will take the animals to the Humane Society of Smith County.  They have been housing county animals for years.

"Those numbers just continue to increase, and this is before the leash law in the county is to be enforced," said Gayle Helms, Director Of Humane Society of Smith County. "There is not enough space for all these animals that they are bringing in. We are receiving around 900 to 1000 a month through the shelter. It is just going to be very important to have another kennel constructed."

With that new kennel comes additional expense, something the county has not yet budgeted.

"$70,000 was requested before they decided to enact the leash law in the county, and before they decided to have three full time officers out in the county picking up these animals. The rules of the game have changed," said Helms.

In the budget adopted Monday, the Humane Society will receive $70,000, which is the same amount as last year. There is a contingency line with an additional $50,000 if they can prove the necessity. But the budget does not include building a new kennel.

Danielle Capper, Reporting.


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