Taylor promotes spaying, neutering

Published 8:09 pm Thursday, November 29, 2012

For Todd Taylor, the new chief animal-control officer for Beaufort County, the hardest part of his job is euthanizing the unwanted dogs, cats and other animals that are brought almost each day to the county’s animal shelter.
So far this year, that number totals 2,221 including 1,164 cats, 1,048 dogs and four horses. Only 102 of those animals were pets that were reclaimed, and 477 were animals that were adopted, according to Animal Control Department statistics.
That has left Taylor and his staff no choice but to euthanize 1,533 animals — on average five every day for 10 months straight — so far this year.
It’s a problem that could be alleviated, to a great extent, if pet owners would spay or neuter their animals, he said.
“Reducing the pet population would eliminate a lot of expense and save the county taxpayers a lot of money,” he said.
To that end, a low-income spay/neuter program is in the planning stages at the department, a plan that would provide low-income residents with the means to spay or neuter their pets at a reduced cost.
“That program would attack the areas where a lot of the animal-shelter population comes from,” he said.
Dealing with unwanted or unclaimed animals is just part of Taylor’s job.
As chief animal-control officer, Taylor oversees a staff that includes three other officers and a part-time employee.
He and his staff are charged with enforcing animal-control ordinances and laws of the county and the state, as well as answering calls from people regarding stray animals, nuisances caused by animals, dog bites, possible rabid animals and animal cruelty.
That’s a difficult task given the county’s size, population and number of animals in the county and requires dedication from the staff, he said.
Taylor and the staff also are charged with overseeing the operations of the Betsy Bailey Nelson Animal Control Facility on U.S. Highway 264 about four miles east of Washington.
Helping in this effort is a corps of 81 volunteers who help each day clean the areas holding animals as well as other tasks to help in the operation of the animal shelter. Those volunteers have given 2,877 volunteer hours of service so far this year.
A native of Michigan, Taylor is a graduate of Ross Beatty High School in Cassopolis, Mich., and, earlier this year, earned a basic law enforcement training certification earlier this year from Beaufort County Community College.
Taylor held a variety of positions in Michigan and eastern North Carolina before joining the staff of the county’s Water Department in 2004. In 2007, he joined the staff of the Animal Control Department as an officer and was named to his current position in August.
“We are pleased to have someone of Todd’s caliber in this important leadership role joining the County’s management team,” said Jerry Langley, chairman of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners.
Since accepting the post as chief animal control officer, Taylor and his staff have worked to improve maintenance at the animal shelter — including installation of floodlights, repair of signage at the shelter and installing security cameras that monitor the shelter at night.
With funds donated by two local residents, he and his staff have renovated the shelter to include a room that will prevent sick cats from spreading disease to other cats housed at the shelter.
He has also applied for a license from federal and state agencies that would allow animal-control officers to euthanize animals by injection instead of using a gas chamber.
While euthanizing unwanted animals is the most difficult part of the job, preventing neglect or abuse of an animal is the most rewarding, Taylor said.
“When we receive information about a bad situation, we are the ones who can fix that,” he said. “You get a good feeling about it when you can help the people and help the animals.”

Upcoming events at the Betsy Bailey Animal Control Facility

  • Pet photos with Santa, noon to 2 p.m., Saturday.
  • Open house, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday.

For more general questions, for more information about upcoming shelter events or to file an animal complaint, contact the Betsey Bailey Animal Control Facility,
3931 U.S. Highway 264 East, Washington, N.C. Telephone 252-946-4517.
The shelter is open to the public from 1 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.