09/24/08 — Shelter officials available to answer dog calls

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Shelter officials available to answer dog calls

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 24, 2008 1:46 PM

Mount Olive, like many smaller municipalities, lacks a full-time animal control

However, Wayne County Animal Control Supervisor Justin Scally said his office is always ready to provide training to law enforcement agencies in how to handle potentially vicious or aggressive animals.

Last week a Mount Olive police officer shot and killed a family pet that he said lunged at him. According to police, the dog was too far away to control with pepper spray and the officer fired two shotgun blasts to kill the animal.

The shooting in a residential neighborhood, and the fact the dog was placed in plastic and left by the curb, angered many in the community. Police officials said they did not know they could call Animal Control after hours.

People who are concerned about an animal should call Animal Control at 731-1439 Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. For after-hours calls, people should contact 911.

Calls concerning vicious or aggressive dogs are a daily routine for Wayne County Animal Control and each call is different, Scally said.

Sometimes the calls are based on an animal chasing or barking at someone. At other times, the calls are because of concerns about a specific breed of dog, he said.

All of those variables, he said, mean that each situation has to be handled differently.

"We assess the situation," he said. "What are the circumstances? We want to take the least amount of force necessary. Animals react differently. One might act fine any other time, be fearful or aggressive another time and submissive the next time. It depends on the animal."

He said that to his knowledge his department has not put down any animals in the field during his time with the county.

The number of calls vary from day to day.

Some days there are only a "handful" and on other days there are several, he said.

Scally said there is no particular area in the county that is worse than others. The calls come from across the county.

Scally said the county follows the state guidelines in classifying an animal as vicious or aggressive -- the dog must have bitten someone, approached a person in a threatening manner or killed small animals.

Scally said dogs react differently to different people.

"I believe that animals can sense you are scared and act accordingly," he said. "The way I approach or handle an animal, it may react different than it would with someone else."

Scally noted one call in Pikeville concerning a vicious dog. The dog was in a large area so it was hard to "corner him." Animal Control officers tried running the dog to tire it out before finally using a trap to capture the animal.