Sheriff Looks at Taking over Animal Control; Tommy Seagraves Tells the County Commission He'll Prepare a Proposal

Article excerpt


YULEE - Nassau County Sheriff Tommy Seagraves offered Wednesday to take over Nassau County Animal Care and Control.

Seagraves, however, asked the County Commission Wednesday to delay making any decision about Animal Control until he prepares a detailed proposal.

Commission Chairman Jim B. Higginbotham said the commission will consider all proposals at its Jan. 28 meeting. The vote to delay making any decision until January was met with applause from the audience, consisting of members of various nonprofit organizations focused on animals.

Interim Director Rhett Holden-Dodge is temporarily in charge of the county animal shelter in Yulee as the officials decide what to do with the Animal Control.

After months of complaints about operations, Animal Control Director Brenda Rothwell requested in October that she and office manager Janet Wylie be released from their positions once a replacement could be found. The two were relieved last month.

Rescuing Animals In Nassau, a new animal group based in Callahan, also presented a proposal earlier this month to take over Animal Control.

RAIN's proposal called for a budget of more than $600,000 a year. Animal Control spent almost $611,000 in fiscal year 2006-07.

Seagraves told the commission Wednesday similar facilities in other parts of Florida are run by law enforcement. Seagraves said his deputies are usually the first to respond to situations involving animals and he can make immediate decisions impacting the animals.

"With it being in my hands I can make the decision promptly and immediately for the best interest of our citizens," Seagraves told the commission. …


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