Effingham County commissioners have approved funding two sheriff’s deputies to take over animal control enforcement issues.
But, commissioners were warned, two deputies may not be enough to handle the task in the future.
Commissioners approved the proposed budget for the personnel realignment by a 5-1 vote last Tuesday, with Commissioner Reggie Loper voting against the measure. Since the deputies will be Peace Officer Standards and Training certified, they will be able to handle other law enforcement duties if needed. But their primary task will be handling animal control enforcement.
County Administrator David Crawley said Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie will sometimes have three or four deputies get called out to handle animal control matters.
“We’ve been behind on animal control as long as I’ve been here,” Crawley said. “The demand on animal control has been extremely high. I think you’re going to have to fund another officer in the future.”
He also said having those officers responsible for animal control also being able to go to court in those cases will help.
Commissioners approved restructuring the office. Instead of a director of animal control — the county terminated two directors in less than a year — there will be a shelter manager and part-time positions as kennel assistants.
“It’s working well,” Crawley said, adding the total number of people involved in animal control has not changed.
He also said the sheriff’s office has sent personnel to receive specific training in animal control.