Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Better Animal Control in Hilliard Not Likely

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Better Animal Control in Hilliard Not Likely

Article excerpt

Byline: Amelia A. Hart, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

The Nassau Humane Society had good news and bad news for the Hilliard Town Council on Thursday.

The good news was the problem of a stray pit bull -- which had been been roaming a Hilliard neighborhood for three years, attacking dogs, eating cats and other small animals, and dropping litters of puppies -- had been solved the night before. The animal was shot.

The bad news was the town is not going to be getting a higher level of animal control service anytime soon.

Society Operations Director Sparky Weitzel told the council the society has three animal control officers, two full-time and one part-time, to cover the entire county, and no money to hire any more.

"We don't anticipate any increase in service," Weitzel said. "We've been more responsive [in Hilliard] than we have been. But we are not anticipating any additional officers."

Hilliard officials have repeatedly expressed their frustration with the animal control service provided by the society. There are too many stray dogs and cats in town, and the response to calls is too slow, they say. Hilliard pays the society $1,395 a month for animal control. Nassau County, Callahan and Fernandina Beach also contract with the society for animal control.

Hilliard's gripes flared again Feb. 19 when Town Clerk Lisa Purvis told the council that auditors found that Hilliard's contract with the Nassau Humane Society had never been signed. The society also hadn't provided the last quarterly report as required.

At the same meeting, Hilliard resident Dennis Perkins voiced his complaints about animal control officers' inability to catch the stray pit bull. The animal had attacked Perkins' dog the week before, puncturing it 70 times, he said.

It was past time for the humane society to solve the problem, he said. …

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