City Clerk Sharon Coll discusses the packets she distributed to City Council members during the workshop on the city’s Animal Control Services on Wednesday at City Hall. (Randal Seyler Photo)
The City Council received an update from police officials and animal control officers during a workshop on Wednesday evening.
The city’s Animal Control Services have increased hours and began opening on weekends earlier this week to allow the public more time to visit and adopt dogs and cats from the shelter, but Police Chief Phil Smith warned that changes to the shelter were only the beginning.
“This is the warm and fuzzy part right here,” Smith said. “Addressing irresponsible pet owners is where the hard work will be.”
Roswell Police Sgt. Phil Gonzales, who has been supervising the animal shelter since the City Council turned control of Animal Services over to the police department, informed the councilors that the shelter has been following city ordinances and policies as well as updating forms to collect more information about the animals.
Deputy Chief Brad McFadin informed the councilors that the department is also in the process of getting a new website and electronic reporting system for the animal shelter, and the new website should be operational by the end of October.
Enforcing the rules regulating the number of animals allowed in a home will take effort, and the city should also reconsider the number of animals allowed to be housed at private rescues as well, Smith said.
“It won’t be popular, and it is going to take some manpower, but I see it as a positive challenge,” Smith said.
Having police officers interacting with the public in animal welfare concerns will give officers a different venue in which to demonstrate their concern for the community and the department’s professionalism, he said.
Smith also recommended the city consider allowing a two-day extension on hold times for rescue groups, but only in the case of an emergency and only with a written request.
“We have to be consistent, and stick to the ordinance, but I don’t think allowing a two-day extension would hurt us.”
“I’m just thankful the city of Roswell didn’t tell me I could only have four children,” said Councilor Jason Perry. “I know people who have six animals and they are very well taken care of … their pets have better shoes than my children,” he added, laughing.
“I think you’re spot on, chief,” said Mayor Dennis Kintigh. “I think the hard work is ahead of us.”
Making decisions about how many animals residents may own within city limits, and requiring spaying or neutering, tags or microchips, is a challenge the city will have to face if it is to gain control of the stray animal population, Smith said.
“This is going to be a tough fight,” the police chief said.
Kintigh said those decisions will be tough to make, but they will ultimately have to be discussed.
“It may not be politically popular, but that’s why we’re here,” the mayor said.
City Editor Randal Seyler may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 311, or email@example.com.