Sheriff Stephan Smith has had enough of the illegal animal dumping in Richmond County. He’s going to set up a special hotline and offer rewards for tips that lead to arrests.
Since January, there’s been a noticeable increase of dogs and animals being dumped in the county. Within the last two months, there have been eight cases, and it’s putting on a strain on animal control, Smith told Richmond County’s board of supervisors.
In addition to the time it takes to address the situation, there’s also danger involved because some of the animals are on their owns for four or five days before animal control takes them in and some of them start getting wild, he added.
Smith believes at least some of the incidents are the work of a repeat offender. Animal control picked up three dogs within a one mile radius in Emerton.
“It’s no doubt they were dumped and they all seem to come from the same person,” he said.
To deter more dumping and possibly catch the culprits, Smith asked the board for $2,000 to launch create an animal dumping hotline and reward programs
The hotline will run through the animal shelter’s existing phone line, which has a recording feature, and it operate on the Crime Stoppers model, which means tipsters will only be rewarded if the information they provide leads to an arrest. Smith plans to establish an in-house board to evaluate what incoming information is viable, and when appropriate, there will be an investigation into the tips.
Smith explained that he wanted a dedicated program for animal dumping because although Crime Stoppers is available and is good organization, it hasn’t been very active. “Our organization has a huge following on its Facebook page and can reach out to more than other entities in the county,” he said.
Richmond County Administrator Morgan Quicke supported the request, noting that the sheriff’s office is about 20 percent under budget. So there’s plenty of money for this project without appropriating additional money from the general fund, he said. And the board voted unanimously in favor of funding the initiative.