By Kim Ratcliff | May 6, 2021 at 1:28 PM EDT – Updated May 6 at 7:41 PM
COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – One of the first steps Sheriff Jody Greene took after being named interim director of the Columbus County Animal Shelter was to bring state inspectors in for a look.
“If you look back to the inspections, they were never up to par, so yes, I reached out to (the state). They came down and met with us. They gave us their expectations and that’s what we’ve got to strive for,” said Sheriff Jody Greene.
They found dog kennels not in compliance with state regulations. Correcting that problem is just one of the changes the sheriff has already put in place.
“We’ve freshened up things; we’re changing the lighting so it will be brighter in the back where the animals are. Sanding the floors, painting the floors. We built a new customer service area. We’re excited.” said Greene.
Fans found caked with years of dust and grime have been cleaned. There are security cameras in place. Fans have been added to the kennels used to transport animals in county vehicles. More additions are planned.
“Eventually, we’d like to have a little animal park where people can actually view the animals in an environment outside not penned in sitting inside — go out watch their behavior and how they act,” said Greene.
Sheriff Greene also would ultimately like the animal shelter to fall under his office, as it does in many of the surrounding counties.
“You’ve got to have a foundation or you’re going to fall. This will be its own investigative group, the whole nine yards right here. Anything dealing with animal cruelty, animal control, everything will be done right here,” said Greene.
The sheriff also has proposed a county-wide ordinance that includes a leash law. Currently, there is not one on the books in Columbus County.
If given the responsibility of running the shelter permanently, he wants to upgrade the enforcement programs to hold pet owners accountable.
“Fines people can face. What we found — there hadn’t been any fines issued for years for people doing these things. The only time it was when the sheriff’s office went out on an animal cruelty or something like that it would run through our detective division. One of the young ladies in there, Miss Britt, she’s a sworn officer. We’re going to have sworn deputies out here to handle those investigations and not have to tie up criminal detectives on the other things,” said Greene.
Right now, the sheriff’s proposed county ordinance is under review. Commissioners are waiting on the county attorney to review it before considering a final version.
Current director Loretta Shipman is on medical leave.
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