Archive for Thursday, February 21, 2008

Animal control officer outlines work, plans

February 21, 2008

Baldwin City has had an animal control officer for almost a year and she's been busy. She also has high hopes to implement a program to reduce the feral cat population in town.

Friday will be Julia Taylor's one-year anniversary with the city. During that time, she's impounded 73 dogs, 27 cats and captured seven raccoons. She has issued 18 citations, including six for dog at large, three for illegal pit bulls and one for vicious animal.

That's all been accomplished during her 15-hour a week schedule which is Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. She wants to do more and that includes a program used successfully around the state where feral cats are spayed or neutered, their ears notched to identify them and returned to the street.

"It cuts down the number that are populating," said Taylor. "A lot of towns have used it and it's very effective in reducing the feral cat population."

The council asked her what she estimated the city's feral cat population to be.

"I'd say in this area there are probably 80 or 90 here," she said of the downtown area around the library where the meeting was held. "In the area of the depot, there's another 80 or 90. It's only because people don't spay and neuter their animals."

The council liked the idea.

"This would be a really great program for us to do," said Council Member Tony Brown.

"I think this should be some sort of priority," said Council Member Ken Wagner.

Council President Amy Cleavinger brought up dog tags and how the city needs a better system. Taylor agreed and so did the rest of the council, but no decisions were made.

Taylor had given the council a report about her activities for the year, which also included the possibility of Tim Jones, D.V.M., expanding his veterinary clinic to include additional boarding space for animals. She said he'd like for the city to commit to spaces in the facility to house animals captured here and held for owners. He has also offered office space.

"Also, as the council is aware, the police department is cramped for room and unable to provide space for me in their building," she said in her memo. "If the Companion Animal Hospital expands, Dr. Jones has offered to include office space for the animal control/caretaker position. I believe this arrangement would be beneficial to all concerned."

"I appreciated the update," said Brown. "I liked what you are seeing for the future and your work with Dr. Jones."

In related action, the council approved unanimously on first reading an ordinance updating the city code on animals. The second reading will be at the council's next meeting in two weeks.

"We didn't take a lot things out, we put several things in," said City Administrator Jeff Dingman regarding the animal ordinance.

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