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Surry sheriff to oversee animal control

Animal control operations are now a function of the Surry County Sheriff’s Office.

Surry’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Sept. 2 to approve a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, with Sheriff Carlos Turner making the change.

Prior to the MOU, animal control was a department of the county’s administration. As a result of the change, the county’s animal control employees will report to Turner, an elected constitutional officer, rather than County Administrator Melissa Rollins.

Turner will have direct supervision of all animal control employees, including hiring and disciplinary actions, setting operational standards, departmental budgeting and financial oversight. The employees will be assigned duties as sworn officers upon Turner’s discretion.

According to the MOU, Turner and Surry’s Board of Supervisors “agree that the Animal Control Department” would “operate more efficiently if the Animal Control Department were supervised by the Sheriff.”

The department, according to the county’s website, is charged with enforcing state and local animal laws, investigating animal bites and rabies cases, investigating livestock claims due to stray dogs and investigating allegations of animal cruelty. The department is based at the Surry County Animal Shelter at 265 Old Burrough Road. The shelter is open every fourth Saturday of the month.