Submitted Macon County's assistant animal control officer will work a 40-hour week and handle the same responsibilities as existing animal control officer Jamie Weekley on a rotating schedule.

Submitted

Macon County's assistant animal control officer will work a 40-hour week and handle the same responsibilities as existing animal control officer Jamie Weekley on a rotating schedule.

Macon County Mayor Steve Jones has identified animal hoarding as a problem in the area, and the county is looking to combat it by hiring an assistant animal control officer.

The position will share responsibilities with Macon County Animal Control Officer Jamie Weekley, who said she has often worked between 50 and 80 hours per week.

"Having the other person will keep us from getting backed up and let us help more animals quicker," Weekley said. "We're hopefully going to fill it by (this week). It's a job meant for two people, not one."

Jones said that the plan is for both officers to work 40-hour schedules and rotate shifts, as opposed to being on call at all times.

"The average workday just for me consists of basically claims, taking care of the dogs and running calls," Weekley said. "I also take dogs to the vet and do adoptions."

Weekley has additionally been responsible for cleaning up the dog pound twice daily, and the job occasionally brings complications when she is called to pick up an animal.

"If it's a biting animal, it's hard for one person to manage," Jones said. "It's a dangerous job, and primarily, it's about being able to process the animals, make sure they're taken care of and that they have their vaccinations."

According to Jones, one reason that animal control receives frequent calls is because of both state and county regulations.

"We don't have as strict regulations as some places do," Jones said. "In Macon County, a pet owner can breed dogs and have as many litters of pups as they want ... (sometimes) they get so many they can't take care of them properly. We've had people from as far as California come and pick up dogs."

Macon County saw a high-profile hoarding incident in January when a duo from Pleasant View was arrested for allegedly hoarding 38 improperly-fed dogs.

Several local agencies worked together to retrieve the dogs, and they were housed in a county holding facility while city of Lafayette Animal Control Officer Tom Dallas and Weekley worked to find the dogs homes.

Jones said that the Macon County Commission has discussed tightening regulations on breeding but that training a second county animal control officer is the current priority.

"A lot of times, they have to find out where the animal came from," Jones said. "Is it a pet that's got loose or one running at random? It's not just pick up a dog and go put them in a pen."