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Swain forms animal control committee

animal controlSwain County commissioners are moving forward with their plan to address the lack of animal control by putting together an ad hoc committee to explore possible solutions.

Each commissioner appointed two members to the committee, and Commissioner Ben Bushyhead will also serve on it. 

The following people will serve on the committee:

• Jim Douthit and Alan Anthony — appointed by Commissioner David Monteith. 

• Burgan Edwards and Ginger Gaither — appointed by Commissioner Steve Moon. 

• Larry Price and Dale Campbell — appointed by Commissioner Danny Burns.

• Sybil Mann and Beth Cline — appointed by Commissioner Ben Bushyhead. 

• Buck Jenkins and Rick Downs — appointed by Commissioner Phil Carson.

Bushyhead said at a recent commissioner meeting that he wanted Mann to serve as the chairwoman of the committee so the group could hit the ground running at its first meeting. 

However, Monteith said it was normal protocol to have the committee select its own chairman and vice chairman at its first meeting. After more discussion, the board agreed to make Mann the temporary chairwoman. She will be responsible for setting up the first meeting and getting everything together. The committee can then appoint a chairman and vice chairman when it meets. 

Swain County doesn’t have an animal control ordinance or a county shelter to take stray animals to when they have a problem. The county stopped contracting with a company in 2009 that transported animals to a shelter, but now the nonprofit P.A.W.S. is the only place stray animals can be taken. 

The issue was brought up again several months ago when the commissioners received several complaints about dogs running loose in neighborhoods and a dog biting someone else’s cat. While it’s been a contentious issue in the past, Bushyhead, who was elected last year, offered to lead the charge to explore solutions. 

He said the first goal was to establish an animal control ordinance — then the county can look at shelter options. 

Jackson County commissioners are also discussing the need for a new animal shelter. Swain County is open to sharing a shelter with Jackson if a central location can be found. 

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