02/08/07 — County appoints shelter director

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County appoints shelter director

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on February 8, 2007 1:56 PM

Wayne County's Board of Commissioners might not know where they will locate a new animal shelter, but county officials know who will run it.

Justin Scally, 21, of Baltimore, will begin work as the county's animal control director Feb. 12. He said he has already thought of some ways to improve operations at the existing facility as the county waits for the new shelter construction to begin.

"One of the first things is that I want to meet with everyone and make sure we're all on the same page," Scally said. "We'll need to look at current policies and how things operate and look at how to develop any new policies."

County Manager Lee Smith said the new county employee, who will receive an annual salary of $40,466, might be young, but the excitement of youth is exactly what is needed for animal control services.

"I really like his energy. And he's going to need it for training the staff, making sure everyone gets their certifications, examining new policies and overseeing the construction of a new facility," Smith said.

But Scally will also have to consider how to handle operations at the existing animal shelter until a new one is built.

"The staff there is wonderful. I think it will be important to work with them to implement some of our new policies with euthanization because the animals won't stop coming in," he said.

The county currently euthanizes animals using a carbon monoxide chamber. But animal rescue groups and upcoming changes to state law have called for the euthanization of animals by sodium bentobarbital injection, which is considered more humane.

Scally, who is certified in that type of euthanization, said he has never used another method and is eager to begin looking at how to improve the euthanization process and policies at the existing facility before the foundation is laid for a new one.

The commissioners are considering building a new facility on county-owned land near the Goldsboro-Wayne Municipal Airport. The board is expected to make a final decision at the next commissioners' meeting, which is scheduled for Feb. 20 at 9 a.m.

The floor plan, created by contractor Walter Vick and LSV Partnership Architects, calls for a 11,500-square-foot facility. The existing facility, which was built in 1956, is about 1,150 square feet.

During the commissioners' annual retreat on Jan. 26, Smith told the board he believes a new animal shelter will cost about $1.25 million in addition to the nearly $250,000 donated by the public.

About $200,000 of that money has been pledged by two anonymous donors. Those donations are contingent upon the county implementing a more humane euthanization process, building a new facility in a centrally located area and improving the adoption process.

Scally said he wants to begin streamlining the adoption process as soon as he begins work. Some of his ideas include a community outreach program that would "teach responsible pet ownership."

He said he would also like the public to know about the animals that come to the shelter.

"I want to get the animals' faces in the community," Scally said.

Due to the number of animals that are impounded each week and space issues, animal control officers have to euthanize animals every Thursday. In the past six months, 3,707 animals were impounded. Of those, 3,340 were euthanized.

Scally said he hopes his education and job experience will help him implement better policies in Wayne County and improve animal control services.

Scally has received training from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Emergency Planning for Animal Control. He received his animal behavioral therapy certificate from the Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine.

His previous job experience includes working as a veterinary technician and then as a animal control officer for the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Millersville, Md. Scally is also trained to handle injured, aggressive, rabid, domestic, wild and exotic animals.