Hart County Renews Animal Control Efforts

Hart County will be working with the Sheriff’s office to find a way to institute animal control.

At their regular meeting Tuesday evening, county commissioner Brad Johnson told the board he met with Sheriff Mike Cleveland to discuss the matter.

The board of commissioners had tried to add the duties of animal control to the county’s code enforcement officer, but that plan fell through.

Talks last fall with the City of Hartwell to share an animal control officer also never resulted any sort of agreement.  Tuesday, Johnson said, however, his talks with Cleveland were positive, but there were some details yet to be ironed out.

Johnson said he also spoke to Hartwell City manager David Aldrich and suggested talks with the city and the Sheriff be set up.

“I believe it would be appropriate for Jon (Caime), the City Manager, and the Sheriff to get together and iron some details and understand the scope of this,” Johnson said. “Jon understands what our board wants and the City Manager what his board wants, to come together with some sort of proposal that would be to the liking of both governments and try to work together on something.”

Johnson said the Sheriff was concerned about where to take animals once his officer picked them up.

Johnson said the city has agreed to allow stray animals in the county to be kept in their holding cages when the Northeast Georgia Animal shelter in Lavonia is closed.

However, Mary Beth Focer,  a Hart County Humane Society member, told the board the animal shelter would open after  hours for Hart County if needed.

“At our meeting Monday evening, shelter director Sheri Lockhart said if animals were picked up over the weekend, she would open the shelter after hours so animals would not have to be left in a cage unattended over the weekend,” said Focer.

However, Lockhart said Thursday that would only apply in an emergency situation.

Hart County Humane Society president Donna Madkiff has offered to help pay for training an animal control  officer.

At the meeting Tuesday, Madkiff thanked the board for working to institute animal control in the county.  After more discussion,  the board voted unanimously  to begin intergovernmental talks on an animal control plan.