Big Changes For County Animal Control - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/3/2008-Smith County

Big Changes For County Animal Control

New state of the art equipment and three state certified officers, all in a new department.

"That is their primary job: full time animal control," said Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith.

Ever since taking over the county's animal control, the department has been responding to calls, picking up strays, and taking them to the humane society, but no more.

"We voted to cancel the contract with Smith County and the commissioners court to provide sheltering services," said The Humane Society of East Texas Executive Director Gayle Helms.

Gayle Helms said the reason for calling it quits is that the Humane Society of East Texas and animal control just don't see things the same way.

"Difference in philosophy with the Humane Society and government officials. So effective March 1, Smith County will not bring animals here," said Helms. "We are going to take a different path, and be a positive influence in the community. So we are going to be a sanctuary."

Sheriff J.B. Smith said until the March deadline, they will carry on with business as usual.

"We just found out so we don't know exactly what we are going to do at the present time. That will be up to the commissioners court,  if they want to build a facility, team with the city, or they want to ship them to another city," Sheriff Smith said.

The commissioner court also just found out about this contract termination. While they're not sure what exactly will happen next, they do have some options.

"We can either contract with another company, another shelter, or we can build our own," said Precinct 3 Commissioner  Bobby Van Ness. "I think at this point we are going to set up a meeting, maybe with the Sheriff's Office, commissioners court, and the City of Tyler and look at our options."

The commissioners court has set a meeting to discuss this issue next Thursday, January 10th.

The Humane Society said they will continue to accept surrender animals from Tyler and Smith County and keep their contracts with smaller municipalities but are changing the way they do business.

Danielle Capper, Reporting. dcapper@kltv.com

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