Animal and Litter Control Officer cleans up Pearl River County

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 30, 2016

In 2015, the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors voted to hire an animal control and litter officer for the county. The position was originally cut during the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

“It’s been something that’s been needed since I’ve been elected…it’s one of our accomplishments that should have been done years ago,” Board President Sandy Kane Smith said.

Danny Joe Slade was selected by the Board and Pearl River County Sheriff David Allison for the position last year.

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“He is the right person for this job…he’s a tremendous person,” Smith said. “He has a common sense approach to him that we need.”

Slade is employed by the Board, but works through the sheriff’s department and receives calls through their dispatch, Smith said.

Slade works 40 hours a week responding to animal and litter calls.

“We weren’t equipped or trained to handle those calls…It’s been a lot of help, plus it’s let us stay more focused with patrolling,” Pearl River County Sheriff David Allison said.

Just last week, Slade responded to the Burgetown community to capture a loose a dog, Smith said. Slade was able to use the dog’s microchip to return it to its owner, Smith said.

“I have had calls from, I can’t tell you how many people, about how thankful they are,” Smith said.

He also said there was a call about a loose buffalo in the north part of the county that Slade helped.

“As we grow, it is something that is needed. And we’re going to need it to continue to grow,” Smith said. “It’s going to make us a better county by having it.”

Smith said it has saved the Sheriff’s Department time by having a full-time officer dedicated to both county services.

District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry said previous to the county reestablishing the position, the sheriff’s department received upward of 1,000 animal-related calls in one year.

Slade drives a marked Pearl River County animal and litter control vehicle provided by the county when responding to calls, Smith said.

The Board budgeted $70,000 for the new fiscal year to the animal and litter control department, an increase from $64,640.

Smith said the budget increase would help purchase tools necessary for the position.

The previous animal control position was not aligned with the sheriff’s department like it is now, Smith said.

“It got to the point to where we really needed someone to do this with law enforcement background,” he said.

“I think it’s working out really well so far,” Perry said.

Though, he said he would like to see the two positions handled by separate staff in the future.

Slade has been able to monitor some of the illegal dumpsites in the county through investigation and surveillance measures, Perry said.

He has also investigated reoccurring dumpsites in the county, issuing a citation after a investigation identified a man who had been illegally dumping trash on private property in Salem, Smith said.

Allison said because there is a full time position devoted to animal and litter, the officer is able to do more investigation and issue more citations to decrease calls.

The position has also helped the department respond to other calls faster by reducing the amount of animal and litter patrols, Allison said.

About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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