BOILING SPRING LAKES, NC (WECT) – It could cost taxpayers more than $70,000 to deal with animal problems in Boiling Spring Lakes.
Police have seen a significant increase in 911 calls about animals over the past year and a half.
The police chief says that dealing with those issues is taking officers away from patrolling the streets.
The Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department has been operating animal control services under a trial basis for the past 18 months.
Since 2011, Chief Brad Shirley reports that the number of 911 calls has nearly doubled, and 11 percent of those calls are animal-related.
The Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department handles all animal control calls within city limits and officers are also responsible for taking animals to the shelter in Supply.
With transportation, interviews, and paperwork, Chief Shirley explained that it sometimes takes more than 2 hours for police officers to handle their business and get back to town. Plus, Chief Shirley explained that officers aren't just dealing with dogs and cats. Shirley says animal control is a full-time job.
"We're talking about wild animals and we're working with wildlife officials," said Shirley. "We're talking about bears, alligators, and snakes."
The Brunswick County Sheriff's Office already said it will not provide assistance to the city.
Now, Chief Shirley is asking town leaders for a new vehicle and a new full-time officer to handle the increased workload.
"The time constraints are problematic, but it can be that way with any type of call," said Shirley. "I think with animal control being at the forefront of our discussions today, I think it brings to the public's attention what exactly our officers are having to do and what duties they have to handle all the duties of an animal control officer."
The Board of Commissioners directed town staff to research the exact costs of a new truck and new equipment. Based on the board's discussion, it's likely the city will accept Chief Shirley's request at their next meeting on the first Tuesday in February.
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