Jackson County Locals Frustrated with Animal Control Services

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

Marianna- Priscilla Hicks said she has had some experience with strays. Not only had she adopted her fair share, she also worked for an animal control office prior to moving to Marianna.

Last Thursday, she called Jackson County animal control to pick-up a dog that had been dumped at her home.

"No response,” she said, “no answer, no call back. Now Monday, at 8:30, I received a call from Scott, at Animal Control. I was like, ‘you know what guy, don't worry about it. I already took care of it’ and hung up on him. You're going to wait four days to get back to somebody? There's a lot that can happen in four days.”

Hicks claimed this wasn't the first incident.

"Nobody's being held accountable for their pets. I'm seeing dogs running out in the streets and people dodging them every day."

She wasn't alone in her frustrations. Debbie O’Quinn, manager of the no-kill shelter, Partner for Pets said they were being mistaken for animal control on a regular basis.

“[People] call because they've gotten no help from calling [animal control], and they yell at us, and we end up in a very tight situation. As you can see” she said, pointing to her crowded kennels, “we're over crowded but we can't turn them away. We show up in the morning [animals are] in boxes out front, dropped over the fence."

Jackson County Animal Control supervisor Mel Roberts said the department was doing the best they could, given he had two employees, no shelter and very limited money.

"They can't stop and answer the phone 20 times a day" Roberts said, in reference to his employees.

"It seems like it would be good to have someone who was available to answer the phone" we replied.

"If the county would provide somebody to man that office,” he said. “That's an issue with county administration."

Roberts explained his crew worked from 7:30 AM- to 3:30 PM. He said the sheriff's office was responsible for after-hours calls and weekends, as well as all emergency situations involving animals.

County officials do have a free spay and neuter program, and vouchers can be requested at the county administration office on Highway 90 in Marianna.

But, Roberts said opening a local shelter was unlikely. "That would solve some problems, but create a lot more. Once you're all filled up with those animals, what are you going to do with them" Roberts asked.

The county currently sends animals to a shelter in Chipley for $45 each, plus $7.50 a day after the first five days.

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