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County Nixes Shelter's Animal Control

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The dispute over animal seizure power is settled.

Wednesday, the Brazos Animal Shelter board approved an interim agreement prohibiting the shelter from seizing livestock.

But that wasn't the only decision on the table.

The county decided to join Bryan and College Station in running its own animal control services.

The shelter will no longer rescue large or small animals, leaving it up to the Sheriff's office.

But while the contract is being revised, both sides had to agree on what to do in the meantime.

When a contract's involved, you can't just agree to disagree.

"Before we vote on this as a board, we have to have something to agree to," said Mayor Ernie Wentrcek.

The animal shelter board must approve any changes to a five year old contract that gives the shelter the authority to seize both large and small animals in the county.

The county says change number one is taking that power away.

In Tuesday's meeting, commissioners voted to eliminate the shelter's power to livestock rescues, and give the sheriff's office that job.

Now, the county wants to take away all seizure authority from the shelter.

"It takes the animal shelter out of the animal seizure business, so it will be a reconfiguration if the county wants to do that," said Board President Mayor Ron Silvia.

All the county is waiting on is the contract to be rewritten.

But until then, another agreement had to be made as to what the animal shelter should be doing.

"My preference at this point based on the course of things that are happening, she not be handling seizure cases and not be out after hours," said Executive Director Kelley Durham.

Durham doesn't want her animal control officer seizing any animals because she says her officer isn't getting the protection from law enforcement the contract calls for.

"No contract is going to change the constitution," said Board member Judge Randy Sims.

The county says by law, the sheriff's office is supposed to protect animal control officers if they are in danger.

But as the board points out, that won't be a problem when the shelter is no longer seizing animals.

Until a new contract is written, all agreed the shelter can continue to seize only small animals, but those days are numbered.