Brazos Valley Burn Bans: The following counties are under a Burn Ban: Austin, Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Houston, Lee, Leon, Madison, Milam, Robertson, San Jacinto, Trinity, Walker, Washington
There's been a noticeable difference at the Brazos Animal Shelter since its animal control duties were taken away in January.
"The changes we have seen have been in the number of strays that have come in from the citizens," Kelly Durham with the Brazos Animal Shelter said.
Before January when the shelter was still under contract with the county, 45-percent of stray animals were brought in by local residents. Now that number has jumped to 70-percent.
"The unfortunate thing about that is at that particular time those contracts did not necessarily cover every situation that we might come across in the county," Brazos County Chief Deputy Jim Mann said.
In the county's new contract with the cities of Bryan and College Station, it was unclear how stray animal issues should be addressed.
"We've gotten a lot of complaints, citizens a little frustrated with the change," Durham said.
But in their effort to correct the situation, the county stumbled upon a new element to the equation. At a workshop meeting last week, commissioners discovered a 1985 resolution that does address how to deal with stray animals. And, the county attorney's office says the ordinance may still be valid.
"Initially we didn't think we had any way to deal with that," Mann said. "But if commissioners adopt this ordinance well then we may be able to answer those needs."
While the sheriff's office awaits a ruling by commissioners court, they are also focusing on another issue. From January 26 through March 16 the sheriff's office logged 110 man hours responding to animal calls.
"The average time on those calls that a deputy is tied up with it is about 45 minutes, some are longer some are less," Mann said. "The time we're out on those calls are time we're not proactively working burglaries," Mann said.
Mann says they'll explore other options at the end of the fiscal year. For now they'll do the best they can on an animal issue that's quickly becoming a beast. Brazos County Commissioners are expected to make some sort of a ruling regarding the 1985 ordinance in an upcoming meeting.
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