During Commissioners’ Court, Monday, Oct. 8, the cities of Jourdanton and Charlotte, through an Interlocal Agreement, agreed for animal control services with the county and the Animal Control Facility.
The County Animal Control becomes that city’s animal control shelter. “We do not go into cities and pick up the animals. We do not enforce their ordinances. It’s illegal,” said Judge Bob Hurley. “We do not enforce our ordinances in cities. That’s illegal. So that’s not an option.
“So, if a city contracts with us, their contract is that we are their animal shelter. Then they don’t have to worry about it.”
“Jourdanton has been a real positive participant with us. They’ve had a number of discussions with us and it has helped us prepare our contracts because there are a lot of things that you might not think of. Chief Kaiser has been very helpful,” said Judge Hurley. “For example, if they bring an animal to us, we sign a receipt and we send them a bill for a one time sum and they’re done with the animal.”
“But, if the owner of that animal comes to reclaim it, it triggers several things that need to be handled. For one, we’re going to assess a fine for our time. They’re going to pay a fee – our fee. If they don’t have rabies tags, that’s a state violation. We don’t even have that in our ordinance. We will fine them for not having a rabies tag. That goes to the county. But, if they violated the ordinance in Jourdanton, with the animal coming from there, then they may face Jourdanton fees.
“What we’re doing is we’re setting up a procedure and the chief and city manager of Jourdanton are so helpful in formulating a procedure for any city that signs up with us.
“We’re going to set up a website so they can go online once they tender an animal to us. They can set up a notice of what fines or fees they have coming. So if somebody picks up their animal, we will collect the money from them for the county. We will collect the fees for the city. And then we’re going to provide an accounting for the city once every ninety days and write a check for the money they have coming. That’s just one thing.”
There may be other things that come up that the county is going to address as they come along.
“The city of Jourdanton has been very helpful to us on how we’re going to handle the paper work. This serves as a model on how we’re going to set up the paper work, billing process, the collection fees and the transfer billing with Jourdanton. All that’s in the contract,” said Judge Hurley.
“We’ve left the billing table out of Commissioners’ Court authorization and what we’ve done in Commissioners’ Court is we’ve authorized the animal control director, who is Lt. Henry Dominguez, the authority to adjust those if he needs to. That doesn’t mean raising it, it means, what if somebody has some extra special circumstance, and Henry sees we have to waive the fee to them or lower the fee. He has the authority to do that. Or if he needs to adjust fees because we found out we inadvertently set something low, then he can adjust the fees. But if he permanently adjusts the fees, he’s going to notify Commissioners’ Court so we’re on board with whatever he’s doing and we know what the fees are.”
The fee table is attached to the contract with Jourdanton.
This model is what the county is using for Charlotte and, shortly, for Poteet.
Judge Hurley said, “We’re really using the model of Kerr County, because Kerr County has one governmental animal control shelter and it’s the county and none of the cities in Kerr County have any animal control shelters. The county is the animal control shelter for them and this is how we designed this to happen so we can cover the whole county. In the event Pleasanton decides to shut theirs down, we can handle their business. Or if Pleasanton decides they just want to use us for overflow, we’re going to accommodate them. If Lytle decides they want to use us for overflow, we’re going to accommodate them. Lytle is a little bit far to use us. I forsee that it will be very difficult for them to use us considering transportation needs. But, that’s their option. They can use us simply for overflow if they want to.”
“What we’re doing now is clear and visible and transparent. We’re taking over the entire function for Jourdanton, Charlotte and, shortly, Poteet, and probably going to do a contract for Christine.”
Leming, Campbellton, Rossville and Verdi – those are all unincorporated areas. They’re not cities. So they are considered county. The county does not have to do any contracts with them. They’re considered to be just as they are, like an unincorporated subdivision, legally. So, they’ll have full services available to them. But once a city incorporates, it triggers a bunch of laws, how their ordinances are managed, how they’re implemented and how the county has to respect them.
“So we can do a contract with Christine, but Christine doesn’t have many people so we’ll figure out a way to work with Christine. They need help. That’s a long trip for them but they’re okay with it.
Cities will have to provide their own cages for animal capture. The county will not provide that,” said Judge Hurley.
When a city, such as Jourdanton, is called to pick up a trapped animal, they send a public worker to pick up the cage and they bring it straight to the County Animal Shelter where a receipt is signed and they have no more legal liability and the county has all the legal liability from that point on. “Feeding, for care, for humane treatment, for disposition, for adoption, for whatever,” said Judge Hurley.