Burke County moves forward with Animal Services Department

Burke County Commission Chairman Allen DeLaigle explains why he supports the county's first Animal Services Department.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Despite major issues, Burke County Commissioners are moving forward with plans to curb its animal problem.  Taxpayer dollars will resolve the longtime confusion over who handles aggressive and neglected pets.

The Emergency Management building on the bypass is where commissioners are thinking about building a new Animal Services Department. That new building will share land with EMA and not be far from the Sheriff’s Office.

We sat down with Commission Chairman Allen DeLaigle, who represents District 4.  He said he supports what the people he represent does.

“They pay taxes and this is what we’re going to try to get.”

Chairman DeLaigle told us he’s seen very few stray animals in his area, but he is all for creating the first ever Animal Services Department.

“Some sections of the county I guess the dogs are a problem,” he said adding that he is aware of an ongoing problem in Girard.

We’ve seen that problem too. NewsChannel 6 covered multiple stories of dogs accused of being abused and neglected. Sheriff Alfonzo Williams initially planned to take over animal services, but DeLaigle said the animal services advisory board suggested county commissioners run it instead.

“Have somebody on the road taking calls. We have to have somebody at the shelter making sure it’s clean and the dogs are getting the care that the need, somebody to walk them,” he explained.

County Administrator Merv Waldrop said $410 ,700 has been allocated for the department.  About $125,000 will pay the salaries of three people.  Applications have already be submitted from across the country. Waldrop said he plans to start interviews soon and he expects to hire someone by July. Work on the new building would start in the fall.

DeLaigle agreed.

“As long as I’m commissioner I’m going to see that it gets done because it’s what the people want.”

He added the new building should be done this time next year and that’s if all goes well. DeLaigle said it should.

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