BRUNSWICK COUNTY -- Sherri Jones called our troubleshooters team recently after a sick dog wandered onto her property. Jones lives in Navassa and says she couldn't get anyone to help. A town police officer even told her just to bury the dog if it died. It turns out Animal Control services vary widely depending on where you live in Brunswick County. Jones is a animal lover, so she was pretty upset when she recently found a sick dog near her Navassa home. Jones said, "The animal was sick, it was falling down. You could tell that something was wrong with it, its equilibrium was off and there was something majorly wrong with this animal. I could get no one out here to help me. I finally talked to an officer and he just told me, 'Well when it dies, do you have a shovel?'" The Town of Navassa doesn't have an Animal Control officer, so it was up to Navassa Police to deal with this type of problems. And Navassa Mayor Eulis Willis says a sick animal doesn't meet the litmus test of what his officers will respond to. Jones says that's not acceptable. "I have a dog, and I worry, wild animals, they could have parvo, they could have any kind of disease, and I don't want some wild, stray animal coming in my yard and infecting my dog," Jones said. Jones is frustrated -- because she lives inside the town limits, she's not eligible for many of the animal control services residents get in unincorporated areas of Brunswick County. Brunswick County Health Director Donald Yousey said, "It's up to the town to decide if they want to provide that service or not. They get a certain amount of money and they have to decide what their priorities are in each town and where they can spend those monies." Health Department officials -- who oversee county animal control -- only have jurisdiction within town limits for true animal emergencies...like rabies cases and vicious dogs. When it comes to nuisance dogs, wounded strays, and animal neglect cases, it's up to town leaders to decide whether or not to help. Some towns, like Leland, hire full-time Animal Control officers, while other towns like Navassa leave it largely up to residents to fend for themselves. We did find one solution for residents like Jones. Residents in towns with limited Animal Control services can drive a sick or wounded animal to the county animal shelter in Supply. The county will also provide traps for nuisance animals.
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