Animal Control Returns to Greene County

SPRINGFIELD -- On July 1, the county will reinstate the program after a six year hiatus. 

Back in 2012, the county did some major slashing to its budget due to constraints at that time, and animal control was part of the cuts. 

Since that time, the duties of animal control have been divided between the Sheriff's office and the planning staff, but with last November's passage of a half-cent sales tax, the county promised voters it would bring this service back in a permanent capacity. 

When it was cut from the budget in 2012, County Commissioner Harold Bengsch says the county had to make some tough choices at a tough time. 

"Due to the recession and the downturn of the funding, we had to make some severe cuts in things we could not do any longer. Animal Control was one of them," Bengsch says. 

Bengsch says the voters passing the half-cent sales tax increase last November is the reason it is being revived. 

"That allowed us monies to reinstate the program that we had shelved," Bengsch explained. 

With $200,000 allocated for the program, it will pay for a two-person staff and equipment costs. 

Kathryn Wall with the Greene County Health Department says boundary lines have been redrawn for what they call the Urban Service Area. This includes Springfield, and some of the highly populated areas outside city limits. 

"We are really talking about two-levels of services depending on the geography of where you live," says Wall. "If you're in that Urban Services Area, you're going to have services like if there are dogs on your property that don't belong there, we are going to help with that. We will also help with dog bites and other dangerous situations. When you get outside that area, we're mainly going to be concerned with those dangerous situations - dog bites and things like that." 

As the program starts up, the county asks for patience, and to understand certain situations are higher priority.

"If there is a dog bite incident we have to respond to, it's going to take us longer to get to some of those stray dog or other incidents. We still care, we still want you to call us, but understand that sometimes other dangerous situations have to take precedence." 

This is a map of the service area above, and it's based on taking care of the highly populated areas. It includes some of those other populated areas outside city limits. The yellow indicates the urban service area, the green being the area they only focus on bites. 

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