The discussion on animal control services in Jefferson County continues, with the county sheriff now joining the conversation.
County commissioners previously spoke with Kirstin Sanger of Snake River Animal Shelter about having the shelter take in county dogs. At their Sept. 30 meeting, they considered a contract with the shelter, but decided to wait on approving it, since the sheriff had not had the chance to look over the contract.
On his part, Sheriff Steve Anderson said the sheriff’s office is “1,000%” in support of the idea and said it was a long time coming. However, he said he wanted to make sure the sheriff’s office would not be obliged to do things that were not budgeted for, such as taking non-problem stray dogs to the shelter.
“The one thing I am totally against is any unfunded mandates toward the sheriff’s office,” Anderson said. “We have enough of that from the state.”
Commissioner Scott Hancock said that had not been the intention. He said the point of the agreement would be for the sheriff and deputies to have a place to take dogs they already would need to take.
“It’s not to put more on you, Sheriff,” Hancock said.
Capt. John Wolfe said the sheriff’s office does not handle issues of stray dogs and dogs-at-large unless they are vicious or otherwise causing problems. As for those that do not cause problems, Colleen Poole, county clerk, said normal citizens taking animals to the shelter could be an option. Hancock said he thinks normal county citizens should not be able to take the animals to the animal shelter unless they are authorized by the sheriff’s office. Wolfe said that could be an option, though they would probably want to try to find the owner before taking the dogs to the shelter.
Roger Clark asked Sanger what the shelter normally did when people brought dogs to the shelter. Sanger said in Idaho Falls, all strays must be taken to a single location — the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter.
Sanger also said there were some other things to consider, such as the requirement to hold animals pending potential court-ordered euthanasia. She said if Snake River Animal Shelter were to hold an animal involved in such a case, the cost to the county would remain $10 per day until the ruling. She said sometimes those court cases can take up to six months, which she said would be costly for the county. Hancock said the county would pass that on to the owner if that were to happen.
She said additionally, if the shelter — which is a no-kill facility — were required to euthanize the animal, there would be an additional euthanasia fee.
“We don’t euthanize in our facility, we’re a no-kill facility, so we have to take any euthanasias out and pay, and that’s the fee we pay to the veterinarian,” Sanger said.
Weston Davis, county attorney, recommended the sheriff look over the contract with Snake River Animal Shelter before the commissioners voted on it. Commissioners decided to wait.
“We just want to make sure that everybody gets it so that we can move forward,” Hancock said.