Saturday, June 22, 2024

Springtown police deputy chief reports uptick in animal control calls

City animal shelter also undergoing renovations

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SPRINGTOWN — Springtown Police Deputy Chief Jamie Oliver’s quarterly report to the city council featured updates about the city’s animal control services.

During the June through August 2023 quarter, Springtown Police Department responded to 4,572 calls for service, which included 253 animal complaints. During his report on Sept. 27, Oliver noted animal complaints increased during the summer quarter compared to the previous quarter when there were 138 calls.

Oliver previously reported the department had received 317 animal complaints for the year so far in his report covering March through May. After the most recent quarterly report, that yearly total would be about 570.

The city of Springtown established its own animal control service about a year ago to avoid costly increases in its contract with Parker County’s animal control services and the animal shelter in Weatherford that the county utilizes. Also, city leaders felt they would be able to provide a higher level of service to residents by offering city animal control.

The city now has two animal control officers instead of one, which Oliver said is because of the increase in animal calls.

“They’re doing really great jobs,” Oliver said about the two new animal control officers, both of whom started working for the city over a month ago. “They’ve done super well.”

City Secretary Christina Derr specifically complimented the new animal control officers on their use of social media and connecting with the community. Having two animal control officers allows one of them to focus on taking calls and caring for animals while the other can take care of administrative tasks.

“That was a hard job for just one person to do,” Derr said.

Oliver also reported renovations are underway at the animal shelter, which is located across from the police station on Martin Avenue. The deputy chief said the quarantine pen was updated and a wash station will be added.

Derr said the shelter used to have some covered outdoor kennels, but the building is now completely enclosed and insulated, which is better for climate control in the shelter and allows for more kennel space for dogs.

“Before, we had seven kennels we couldn't use during the summer, not full time,” Derr said. “We could use them to clean other ones, but nobody could stay in there, or in winter because it was too cold. So basically, (this) doubles the number of kennels we have for dogs.”

Responding to a question, Oliver told the city council more space is needed for cats in the shelter.

“It’s pretty tight in there,” he said. “We’re having a very high influx of cats.”

Space is limited for dogs as well, Derr said, and unlike cats, multiple dogs can’t share a kennel.

“Most of the time, they're full,” she said. “Unless it's a vicious dog or we're worried about rabies or something, a lot of times they don’t have enough space to take a surrender.”

The current renovations are not the end of the shelter’s capacity needs, Derr said. The council previously authorized a facility study the city will use to plan next steps, which for the animal shelter may include renovating and repurposing an existing city building or constructing a new space for the animals. 

“Based on the numbers I saw for what they did over the last year, they’re still going to need quite a bit more space, and that's not counting how we're growing,” Derr said. “The animal shelter, as far as facilities, is probably the biggest need right now.”

More information about Springtown’s animal control services can be found online at cityofspringtown.com/city-services/animal-control or on Facebook by searching for “City of Springtown Animal Control.”

MADELYN EDWARDS
springtownreporter@tricountyreporter.com