Randolph County Commissioners to make decision about animal shelter management

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ASHEBORO, N.C. -- Randolph County Commissioners could make a decision regarding management of the animal shelter Monday, according to County Manager Hal Johnson.

Commissioners could decide to turn shelter management over to the Randolph County Sheriff's Office or create an independent department under the county manager.

The shelter is managed by the Public Health Department. Director Susan Hayes said in an email Wednesday that she believes the shelter would be best managed as a division of its own under the county manager.

"The program has grown and evolved over the years to the point where that would serve the county best," Hayes wrote.

Sheriff Greg Seabolt said if the sheriff's office is selected, it could save the county time and money.

“When an officer goes out and takes an animal welfare call, cruelty to animal call, he can do it and investigate it and charge all in the same visit,” he said. “I’m sure we will have many more cases that will develop as a result of us going out to doing the initial investigation”

Animal advocacy groups like the Asheboro Randolph Animal Alliance have been pushing for the sheriff to take over management for several years, citing tougher enforcement.

"I think it means a whole lot when someone comes to your door with a badge versus when they come to your door and they’re not dressed in a uniform and it appears you’re going to get away with what you’re doing to animals,” founder Pamela Vuncannon said.

Seabolt said he will support the commissioners' decision.

“I’m going to stand behind them and support them no matter what they choose and I urge all the other supporters of change for the animal shelter to support them also,” he said.

Commissioners are holding their budget meeting 6 p.m. Monday evening.

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