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Animal officers praise program


Dispatch Staff Report



The Lowndes County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning is expected to pass a formal agreement confirming last year''s decision to combine the Columbus and Lowndes County animal control departments.  


And while the agreement will be "basically a formality" between the city and county governments, it will solidify a practice animal control officers have been enjoying for nearly a year, said Columbus Animal Control Officer Robert Davis. 


"It just makes us a more flexible department," Davis said. "Now I can help out the county officer (Bobby Reeves) and he can help me out if one of us gets a heavy load or anything. 


"It just makes it easier now that we can work together," Davis added. "I can respond to calls in the county and he can respond to calls in the city if the need ever arises." 


Though the Board of Supervisors voted last summer to combine the two animal control departments, Columbus and Lowndes County have not yet signed an interlocal agreement confirming the move, said County Administrator Ralph Billingsley. 


"It was kind of the same thing we did when we combined the city and county narcotics metro narcotics division a while back," Billingsley said this morning. "The animal control departments have been working together since last summer, but we will just basically formalize that tomorrow morning when we pass the interlocal agreement. 


"I think it has really made the department more efficient now that each of the officers can respond to calls anywhere in the county," Billingsley added. "We just never got around to formalizing it, so we are going to do that tomorrow." 


Since the board voted to combine the two animal control departments, the Lowndes County Sheriff''s Department and the Columbus Police Department has hired a third animal control officer, Dan Smith.  


"The new officer they just hired will kind of be a drifter between the city and the county departments," said Davis. "He will work calls all across the county as needed. 


"To me, it seems that combining the departments has made both jobs easier," Davis added. "If one of us has a lot of calls, one of the other officers can help him out. I''ve enjoyed it a lot having the departments combined."




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