BY JUDY SHERIDAN
Aledo city officials, who have set aside $10,000 for an animal control specialist in next year’s budget, say animal control issues are growing along with the city’s population.
The proposed budget, in fact, has double last year’s $5,000 appropriation.
“The city averages an estimated two calls per week,” City Administrator Ken Pfeifer emailed in response to a question from the Extra. “Many of the calls are dogs that property owners do not leash, and they run at large. The city has a leash law ordinance.”
Pfeifer did not quantify the increase, but said it was up from last year.
In the June council meeting, Public Works Director Gordon Smith said he was concerned that calls involving vicious dogs were up over a three-year period.
Pfeifer said the city has not had to deal with any such calls recently, and no one had been hurt in the past.
Public Works Department employees currently handle the calls, Pfeifer said. Three have animal control training and ongoing courses.
“Of course, our Public Works staff have many duties in water, sewer, streets, parks and other areas,” he said. “So, often other duties are interrupted to attend to the animal control needs.”
In addition to the specialist position, which Pfeifer told the council would be challenging to fill, the city administrator is also proposing that a new employee of the Streets Department be trained to handle basic animal control work.
The position would be filled in April 2105, according to the newly proposed budget, and the new employee would primarily be tasked with maintaining the new landscaped medians and intersections related to FM Road 1187 and Aledo Trail improvements, as well as street maintenance.
“We’ve seen quite an increase in animal control calls, so to take it off of Chris [Morales]’ back and some of the supervisory-type people, this person would receive the training to handle some of the basic animal control work,” Pfeifer told the council.
“We do have the technician in the budget if we can locate one. If not we’ll save that money for another day.”
Bill McLeRoy pointed out that the city requires licenses for dogs and cats, but doesn’t collect the revenue. He questioned the reason for the ordinance.
Pfeifer said stray animals are brought to a shelter in west Fort Worth.