Animal control unit sees benefits of deputy staffing - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Animal control unit sees benefits of deputy staffing

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If you have to call animal control to respond to your property in Charleston County, you'll be greeted by a certified deputy.

"Pretty much, we're the only ones in this area that use certified deputies in law enforcement," said Sgt. David Willis, with Charleston County Animal Control.

The Charleston County Animal Control unit is made up of four deputies and Sgt. Willis.

Dep. Kim Poirier worked with the unit for a year and a half.

"Over the years, the public's perception of animal control was the old style dog-catchers," Poirier explained. "With the county, you know, the animal control unit is full deputies. They have the same powers as any other patrol deputy, whether they be in the patrol warrant unit, aviation unit or marine patrol."

It started ten years ago, when the sheriff's office changed over to all deputies.

Sgt. Willis says the change turned out to be a big benefit.

"As deputies, they can also respond to other calls that go off in the area," he added. "We can do our own investigations, we can make arrests if we need to. We can write for state statutes and county ordinances, so it really doesn't tie our hands for anything."

The deputies are not only there to protect the animals, but also to educate the public on how to better serve or treat their pets, something that's appreciated by their partners at Charleston Animal Society.

"When animal control officers come across situations that might indicate cruelty and they need to seize those animals, then they will bring those animals to us," said Charleston Animal Society Chief Executive Officer Joe Elmore. "The animal control agencies work very well together, and we're very proud of our partnership with Charleston County Animal Control."

Charleston County Animal Control is one of six animal control agencies that bring all of the stray intake into the Charleston Animal Society. Visit the provided links to learn more about the organizations.

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