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Another Important Issue

June 12, 2009

When it rains, it pours.
 

We have another very important meeting coming up –
Tuesday, June 19th at 10am
Public Service Center
1300 Franklin Street, Vancouver
6th floor hearing room
Public testimony allowed

At this meeting, the county commissioners will decide if they will lay off 2 Animal Control officers. These two particular officers have been instrumental in bringing around the horse care in our county and we need them to remain in their positions.

This actually is a two fold request.

 

  • One is that you attend this meeting if at all possible but if you can’t,

  • Please send an email to the commissioners in support of Officers Trish Kraff and Tippy Rutherford.

 

This email from Pat Brown explains the issues very well:

We realize lots of people work at this hour, but if you can be present please come to support our animal control officers of Clark County.

The department cannot function at the excellence it has been with only three officers. We fear our horse-related programs will be greatly affected by this cutback and all the great progress we have made for neglect prevention of horses in this county will be impeded. The adopt-a-horse program takes in only horses that are involved in Animal Control neglect cases, and the proposed facilities at the new Human Society of SW Washington building will also exist to provide temporary sanctuary to horses relinquished to Animal Control. Ripley's Horse Aid Foundation relies on our animal control officers to distribute vouchers to horseowners in need. With the drastic cut in manpower it will be difficult for the officers to administer these programs and they are stretched to the limit as it is. This cutback is also going to greatly affect response times to dog bites and dog attacks.

And from a previous email –

This is a plea to the horse community to please contact the county commissioners immediately, leave messages and e-mails to all county commissioners ( website, or phone 397-2232 ) and Bill Barron, County Administrator (397-2232).

Our animal control department is in danger of losing two excellent officers who have stepped in for the defense of the horses. We’ve already lost one, Patrick Higbie, now we are in danger of losing Trish Kraff and Tippy Rutherford. We work extensively with Officer Carrie Martin but she cannot carry the department without the help and support of Officers Kraff and Rutherford. We have come such a long way with horse protection in our county and have succeeded in helping so many horse owners and placing neglected equines in good homes.

As an agency Animal Control receives over 10,000 calls for service a year. They respond to cruelty/neglect, injured animals, running at large, licensing, vicious animals, dog bites, bite quarantines, and monitor the potentially dangerous and dangerous dogs in the county and city.

  • Animal Control generates income through licensing and citations. They have educational programs including cruelty prevention and bite prevention.

  • Animal Control services are provided at a much lower cost than law enforcement and are a value to the taxpayer.

  • Animal Control keeps the criminal court system from being overloaded with animal related cases.

  • Animal Control is essential to the functioning of the community and an absolute necessity to keep the public safe.

There are currently 5 full time animal control officers for a population of over 400,000 people and their pets. Animal Control already lost the Lead Animal Control officer, Animal Control Officer Patrick Higbie, and the pet license officer. The current staff is stretched to the limit and the loss of Tippy Rutherford and Trisha Kraff would be devastating to the community.

What the commissioners may not realize and need to hear is that other county agencies in the state are contacting us for information to instill the Ripley’s Horse Aid Foundation program and Adopt-a-Horse program in their counties because it has worked so will here. Carrie Martin, Trisha Kraff, Tippy Rutherford, the Clark County Executive Horse Council, and Ripley's Horse Aid Foundation have brought a great deal of positive recognition to Clark County by coming together to implement this model program for dealing with the ever increasing problem of horse cruelty and neglect. These agencies are requesting assistance with developing programs modeled on the Clark County program to deal with the overload of animal neglect.

  • Why undo all of the positive changes that Animal Control has made by cutting staff?

  • With the current economic situation, Clark County should be adding Animal Control officers as opposed to laying the officers off. While the economy has fallen, animal related problems have increased.

  • The animal owners of Clark County spend an extremely large amount of money on their pets. The taxpayers and voters of Clark County deserve to have an adequately staffed professional Animal Control Department.

The county is experiencing budget cuts but the decision is up to them where to make the cuts and we have to convince them that cutting the positions of these two crucial officers is counter-productive.

Please contact the commissioners and county administrator to share this information with them so they can see that we feel it as vital that we keep continued protection of our horses and other precious animals in our county. Clark County has one of the best animal control agencies in this state and in the state of OR, as far as providing protection against horse neglect…let’s not allow them to step backwards!

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