2010-04-15 / Letters to the Editor

An alternative to full-time ACO position

I arrived in town this week to visit relatives, and I am aghast at the dialog and buzz surrounding saving the animal control officer’s (ACO) full-time position. As a businesswoman – and pet owner – I recognize that the town is desperately trying to mitigate budget costs for non-essential operations. Seeing the “per-call” costs, and hearing the dialog on how the ACO assists townspeople 24/7, it is clearly evident that this position is an indulgence for the people on this island.

Difficult times are upon everyone, and tightening the belt is imperative to maintaining life and safety operations of the town until better times. Let me give you an alternative to keeping the ACO position in full force: Reduce the position to part-time, and implement an “on-call” supplement.

When the ACO is called to apprehend a dog off its leash, uncontained or other nuisance calls, then the owner responsible can be billed separately for the ACO time and expenses. If you want the ACO to assist in looking for a lost pet, then the owner who did not abide by leash laws can be billed for the service. “On call” charges will assure the ACO additional monies for the service provided. In my city, if your dog is off its leash, the fines are surmountable.

I can tell from the heartfelt signs around town that as townspeople, you will have no problem digging into your pockets to assist with the financial responsibility to keep this position at your disposal.
Diane White
Orange County, Calif.

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