Perhaps some of you may have missed the press releases over the past few months concerning the change in Lee County and how the animal control enforcement was to be handled.
As of February, enforcement of animal control laws was transferred to the Sheriff’s Office from the Lee County Health Department. Under the Animal Control Department of the Sheriff’s Office, officers can respond to calls immediately.
Duties of these personnel will be enforcing civil and criminal penalties and have a larger part of educating the public when it comes to pet ownership.
The Animal Control Department is managed by Lt. TC Yarborough includes Lt. Prevatte, Sgt. Gilbert Rodriguez, Cpl. Kenneth Gilstrap and Deputy Frank McDaniel, will operate from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. seven days a week. An officer will also be on call for after hours emergencies.
Since taking over animal control enforcement in February, Prevatte said the most common calls the department receives include reports of bites, nuisance animals, dogs at large and pets that have not been vaccinated for rabies. In the latter case, pet owners must produce a rabies vaccination certificate from a certified veterinarian within 72 hours, or they will be fined.
The department can answer all animal control calls, not just those relating to cats and dogs. The officers can respond to wildlife or livestock issues with assistance from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and rescue groups.
For now, the department is still operating under the old animal ordinance. For the past year and a half, the Lee County Board of Health has been working on an overhaul of the ordinance that would include stricter tethering regulations, shelter requirements and spay/neuter guidelines. The board has submitted the final revisions to the Board of Commissioners, which is set to discuss the ordinance again June 20.
To report animal control or animal cruelty issues, contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 775-5531. Anyone interested in adopting an animal or surrendering an animal should still contact Animal Services at 776-7446.