Leavenworth County commissioners discussed possible new animal control policies for the county during a work session Wednesday afternoon. But they reached a consensus to make no changes at this time.
Commissioners met with Sheriff Andy Dedeke and other representatives of the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office during the meeting. The Sheriff’s Office has a part-time animal control officer.
County Administrator Mark Loughry noted that a few months ago commissioners discussed the fact there is no requirement for pets in unincorporated areas of the county to be vaccinated for rabies.
Loughry said some of the neighboring counties do have rabies vaccination requirements.
Loughry said there is not a significant number of rabies cases. He said this probably is because people do a good job of vaccinating animals.
During the last five years, there were 36 cases of rabies in dogs and cats in Kansas. None of these cases were reported in Leavenworth County, he said.
“It’s not a big deal right now,” Loughry said.
But he said it would not be a big deal to require pets to be vaccinated.
“Rabies is not a huge threat in Leavenworth County,” said Crystal Swann Blackdeer, executive director of the Leavenworth County Humane Society.
Blackdeer, who attended Wednesday’s work session, said she wanted to discuss field services for animal control.
Blackdeer said people expect someone will be able to pick up stray animals in the county.
Commissioner Vicky Kaaz questioned how a person would know whether an animal is a stray and “not on a walkabout.”
Blackdeer argued that if an animal shows up at a house without any identification of its owner and the resident has never seen the animal in the neighborhood, it can be considered a stray.
She argued county officials should be concerned about issues that could arise from stray animals.
“It’s a very difficult thing to enforce,” Commissioner Chad Schimke said.
Blackdeer said she views the issue as “kind of a good neighbor policy.”
Commissioner Mike Stieben said a lot of people let their animals roam in the county.
Dedeke said his office’s animal control officer will try to determine where an animal belongs. He said if an animal is from a particular area, neighbors typically will know who the owner is.
Loughry said the Sheriff’s Office already has a process in place to deal with that issue.
Dedeke said the animal control officer has had 87 calls since April of last year.
Undersheriff Jim Sherley said sometimes people will report an issue concerning an animal to an outside agency such as the Leavenworth County Humane Society.
He said the information is passed on to the Sheriff’s Office. But he said the response could be expedited if people report these matters directly to the Sheriff’s Office.
“We deal with that in regards to animal calls,” he said.
Commissioners eventually reached a consensus to leave things as they are.