New animal control officer on duty with Brady department

The ongoing issue of animal control in the City of Brady has moved to the forefront again, especially for many who deal with loose or stray dogs and cats on a daily basis. For the past several months, animal control in the city has drawn considerable attention both in city council meetings and in coffee shop talk on the streets. Until last week, calls for animal control were being handled by police officers. Cory Morris, a 20-year-old Brady native, started his first shift as the city’s newest employee, last Thursday. His title, part-time animal control officer. The city’s full-time animal control officer, John Russell, has been on medical leave for several months. Recently, when he informed the department that his medical leave was going to be extended several more months, an active search for a fill-in officer was conducted resulting in Morris’ employment. “We hired Cory as a part-time animal control officer, but due to the situation we have, we are basically scheduling him full time,” said Brady Police Chief Tommy Payne. His first shift was last Thursday and until further notice, he is reportedly scheduled to work regular business hours during the week. “He has also been on duty on lesser scheduled hours on the weekends,” said Payne. The job has its ups’and downs. Morris said he has always been interested in law enforcement, but he really is passionate about helping not only the public, but the animals as well. “Many of the animals I encounter are in bad situations, whether it be their general health or simply living in dangerous conditions,” said Morris. “I have always been an animal lover and, it is not fair to the animal for them to be neglected or allowed to live in dangerous situations.” His heart and compassion for the animals is obvious. When the keys jingle in the lock of the pound, his incarcerated friends let him know they are glad to see him. With a gentle demeanor, he calms them and treats them with respect, knowing full well how grim the situation truly may be. Having been on the job barely a week, Morris admits he has a lot to learn. He is scheduled to attend a two-day school in May in order to become a certified animal control officer. Already, however, he has formed an opinion of high regard for the department as well as Dr. Joe Pace, a local veterinarian who has volunteered his time and services to do the inevitable. “I had to pick up a cat that had been struck by a car, and it was obvious the animal needed to be put down,” said Morris. “Dr. Pace has been extremely accommodating and very professional in dealing with various situations.” As it stands, the City of Brady has an animal impound policy of 72 hours. At the end of those 72 hours, there is a high possibility that the animal will be euthanized. However, certain circumstances warrant special requests and longer stays. “We do everything we can to find good homes for these animals,” said Payne. “Especially if we find a good-natured animal, we do what we can to give it the respect and opportunity for life it deserves. When we have animals like that, we extend their stay if we can, but with the size of our pound, we are limited in how long they can stay. Currently, the city dog pound is located on the city warehouse lot. A small brick building, it is plagued with structural and plumbing issues that are serious enough that a new facility must become reality in the near future. Originally built as the bath house for the old swimming pool, the structure is decades old. Its size allows for only 12 cages of which several are not usable because of plumbing that backs up and actual structural failure on the cement cages. As it stands, the city has no facility to house cats that continue to be a cause of concern for health reasons throughout the city. Recently, Brady City Manager Merle Taylor and a committee of staff and volunteers who are concerned with viable options animal control, met to discuss options for a new site. According to Taylor, the city is in the process of evaluating a variety of options that will result in the eventual relocation and increased size of the pound. “Our two biggest problems are size and condition of the current pound,” said Taylor. “Another issue we have to deal with is the fact that our entire warehouse lot, including the pound, is located within the flood plain. That is a big reason we have been making the effort to relocate the warehouse to the armory. The pound, however, is an entirely separate issue that needs to be carefully considered.” Preliminary plans investigated at new pound facilities in other communities show that new construction is most likely cost prohibitive when considering the size of a facility to accommodate the demand and provide for future growth. Taylor, along with Mayor James Stewart, members of the city staff and volunteers, are working to devise several options to present to the city council in order to facilitate some long-term solutions to the pound and animal control issues. The Brady City Council is addressing rules and ordinances in relation to animal breeders within the city limits. On the last agenda, considerable discussion by the council about the details of the ordinance prompted city attorneys to take a closer look at the verbage. That ordinance which specifically deals with animal breeders within the city limits, will again be presented to the council at next week’s regular meeting.

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