BOILING SPRING LAKES, NC (WECT) – Calls about animals are starting to present a problem for the police department in Boiling Spring Lakes.
The police department has been operating animal control services under a trial basis since July, 2012. According to Chief Brad Shirley, 11 percent of 911 calls are animal-related.
As a result, the chief of police wants to hire more staff.
Additionally, the vehicle officers use to transport animals in is in need of repair. The U.S. Department of Agriculture ruled that Boiling Spring Lakes leaders need to either replace the vehicle or make improvements to bring it up to code.
In a letter written in August, the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office told the Police Chief of Boiling Spring Lakes that the county is no longer accepting new contracts for animal control services. So, the city is on its own. Chief Shirley says responding to animal control services calls can present challenges when trying to patrol neighborhoods.
"It is challenging, regardless of what services we're providing," said Shirley. "We could be directing traffic at the scene of a wreck and that could take time away from patrolling neighborhoods. Animal control is just one aspect of our job. It's about being able to balance and prioritize our job as police officers."
Chief Shirley added that the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office has been very helpful when it comes to responding to animal control services calls. He also mentioned that budget constraints could present challenges for hiring new staff.
At a special meeting Thursday, town leaders directed staff to work with Chief Shirey to determine whether or not to buy a new vehicle or to repair the old one.
They will also consider hiring a part-time and full-time staff.
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