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Human Interest

Sheriffs Office Will Still Operate Animal Shelter

The Manchester Star-Mercury of Manchester, Georgia

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The Meriwether County Sheriff's Office will continue to operate and facilitate the Meriwether County Animal Shelter, the commissioners decided during a regular meeting held last Wednesday.

The Sheriff's Office has been overseeing the operation of the shelter since June when a Department of Agriculture (GDOA) investigation resulted in the shelter being quarantined and the employees terminated after the conclusion of the investigation. The county then was placed under a consent order, which will expire in June 2012. The GDOA contacted the Sheriff's, Office last week and wanted to know if the department would continue to operate the shelter through fhe consent order.

"I have to say that we, including myself, placed a lot of blame on people backthen," said Sheriff Steve Whitlock. "However, today I realize that it was our fault. We gave people the job to do, but we didn't oversee the shelter as it probably should have been and didn't get involved like we should have. I think those folks needed some help because believe me we are spending a great deal of time there and have used more inmate labor there.

"OF COURSE, the facility is in much better shape now too. It was kind of a mess when we first got there.

"That's not an easy job and I've seen grown men cry over things that have to be done out there. It's tough, that's all I can say about it.

"For example, it takes months to get dogs ready to transport out of that shelter. We've shipped 140 and will be shipping 29 more next week, but it takes a good bit of hard workand money to get those animals ready to transport.

"It's just a tough job.

"I don't have a problem with the Sheriff's Office continuing to oversee the shelter and the people that are there are doing a great job, but we had agreed the department would oversee the operation of the shelter through the end of the year and the Department of Agriculture needs to know if we are going to continue to do so."

THE BOARD of commissioners voted unanimously to allow the Sheriff's Office to continue to oversee the operation of the shelter through the expiration of the consent order in June.

"We will do it, and like I said, we have some good folks there," Whitlock said. "However, we need the fine citizens of this county to get involved. We need volunteers right now. The shelter is in good hands, but we need more hands."

"That's not an easy job and I've seen grown men cry over things that have to be done out there."

-Sheriff Steve Whitlock

Original Publication Date: January 18, 2012

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