New proposal could allow animal control officers to issue citations

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – A major change could be in store for the way animal control calls are handled in the city of Kingsport.

Animals are Jason Wilson’s passion. He has been an SBK animal control officer for about five years.

“We do anything from just dogs running at large, welfare checks to any person that needs assistance with an animal,” Wilson said.

One thing that is not currently in Wilson’s job description is writing citations related to animal control issues.

“Let’s say maybe 1 out of 5 calls requires a citation, or it’s a little bit more serious, so our animal control officer has to call an officer to come write the citation,” SBK Animal Shelters President Tom Parham said.

But a new change of ordinance is in the works to transfer that authority to the animal control officer. It’s a duty that only Kingsport police have held since SBK opened a few years ago.

“It pulls them off of other duties, and sometimes if they’re on a tight schedule they may not be able to come for the animal control officer for a while,” Parham said.

That’s why animal control officers like Wilson and police agree the proposed change will greatly impact efficiency.

“It prevents a duplication of services and lets the animal control officers handle the animal control calls and police officers handle the police calls,” Patton said.

But police guarantee they will still respond to public safety issues.

The Kingsport Board of Mayor and Alderman will vote to change the ordinance at their next meeting in March.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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