Animal Protective Services
According to the Sheriff’s Office website, the goals of the Animal Protective Services division (in addition to the obvious goals of protecting citizens from rabid or otherwise dangerous animals) are to create community partnerships to promote responsible pet ownership, decrease the overpopulation of domestic pets through spay-neuter programs and education, and to find every adoptable dog or cat a perfect, loving home. The prior board of county commissioners moved the animal shelter out of the Health Department’s jurisdiction and placed it under the Sheriff’s Office. This was done, in part, because the work associated with running the shelter was simply more than the Health Department could handle with its limited resources and staff.
I wrote the following notes during Lt. Tommy Tolley’s presentation on Animal Protective Services (I believe the numbers are accurate, but it was a lot to write down in a short amount of time):
- The division has 11 employees.
- Between three and six inmates help clean the shelter each day; this saves the county money.
- Animal Protective Services now has in excess of 230 volunteers, and the number continues to grow; the volunteers provide an invaluable service, and their willingness to do so saves the county money that can be used in other areas.
- Since assuming operation of the shelter, Animal Protective Services has expanded the hours that the shelter is open for adoptions.
- The shelter does not use a gas chamber to euthanize animals; if an animal must be euthanized, it is done with an injection.
- The shelter must keep animals for five days after they arrive at the shelter, after which point ownership can be legally transferred to Animal Protective Services. After this point, adoptable animals can be placed on adoption row.
- Animal Protective Services attempts every other route before an animal is euthanized.
- Some adoptable animals are transported to other states where there is a higher demand for pets.
On a sad note, we watched two very graphic videos: one of a dogfighting ring and one of a cockfighting ring. Both of these videos were disturbing, to say the least.
On a more positive note, Lt. Tolley brought in two dogs and one cat that are currently at the shelter. He also brought in a surprise: an Eclectus Parrot (pictured below). The bird was found in a field, and no one has claimed it.
Crime Prevention Unit
Deputy T.K. Nowell, who along with Sergeant Bert Reaves is one of the co-leaders of the Citizens Academy, provided us with an in-depth overview of the MANY duties of the Crime Prevention Unit.
Programs that fall under the Crime Prevention Unit include:
- Citizens Academy
- Senior Citizens Academy
- Project Lifesaver (more on this later)
- STOPPED (a parental notification system developed to help reduce the number of young drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents)
- Volunteer Program
- Community Engagements
- Community Watch Meetings
- Bank Security Training
- Eddie Eagle Gun Safety (promotes gun safety among children)
- Fatal Vision Simulator (simulates impaired vision; intended to deter teens from driving under the influence, especially during prom season)
- Golf Cart Inspections (in unincorporated areas with speed limits 35 mph or less)
- AVID program speakers (in Middle Schools)
- RAD Self Defense (Rape Aggression Defense) training for women
- “Are You OK?”, a program established to serve older adults, disabled persons, and shut-ins who live alone. The program is free to the citizens of Brunswick County. The subscriber must have a telephone that accepts incoming calls at the residence
- Life Choices — similar to AVID; speeches to middle schoolers on choices that can positively or negatively impact the future course of their life
- Residential Security Checks (inspect your property to tell you how you can make it more secure)
- Fall Festival
- Radar Trailer
- Camera Car
- Possible future program: RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) training for Seniors
As you can see, the Crime Prevention Unit has a lot on its plate. Now, a bit more about Project Lifesaver.
Project Lifesaver is a free service for county residents who are caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s, autism, or other conditions that make them likely to wander away from caregivers, or who have difficulties communicating with rescuers.
To participate in the Project Lifesaver program, the prospective client must:
- Live within Brunswick County and be under care in their home
- Be diagnosed by a certified physician as having Alzheimer’s disease, other dementia disorders, autism, Down syndrome, or similar disorders
- Be known to wander away from caregivers.
The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Project Lifesaver team gives participants a plastic bracelet containing a waterproof radio transmitter. Each participant’s transmitter is assigned a radio frequency that is unique both to them and to their geographical area of the county. The bracelets may be worn on the client’s wrist or ankle.
After learning about Project Lifesaver, our class split into two teams. Each team was assigned to find a Sheriff’s Office volunteer who was hiding somewhere nearby on the grounds of the Brunswick County Government Center with a Project Lifesaver radio transmitter. We utilized the tracking device to find our missing person. I must say that is was much more difficult than I thought. It took my group quite a while to find our missing volunteer, who I suspect won an Olympic gold medal in hide-and-seek.