Vaughan takes charge; Rawls remains as officer

Published 9:13 am Thursday, August 5, 2010

WINTON – Hertford County has a new person in charge of animal control.

Monday morning, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners approved changes in the Animal Control Ordinance that, in part, appointed Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan as the person responsible for animal control.

According to the revised ordinance, the Animal Control Officer is defined as “The Hertford County Sheriff or persons designated or appointed by the Sheriff to pick up, restrain, sell or dispose of dogs, cats or other animals and who are responsible for discharging other such duties and functions as may be prescribed by the county board of commissioners by this or any other county ordinance or state law.”

While the sheriff takes over the duties from the Emergency Management department, nothing changed as far as the person who is handling the duties.

Sheriff Vaughan reported shortly after Monday’s meeting that he was appointing Joe Rawls to continue to serve as Animal Control Officer. By North Carolina law, any employee of the sheriff’s office is chosen by the sole discretion of the sheriff without input from the county.

The new ordinance also makes language changes to allow the Hertford County Sheriff to establish an animal control program and moves the budgeting from Emergency Management to the sheriff’s office.

Hertford County Attorney Chuck Revelle said the new ordinance combined several changes in North Carolina law with revisions that needed to be made due to the shift in responsibility.

In addition to other changes, the new ordinance specifies that the sheriff will serve as the Animal Cruelty Investigator and that he may appoint additional animal cruelty investigators.

Another update for the ordinance is the appeal process for animals being deemed as dangerous or potentially dangerous. The new plan allows for a three-person committee to hear any appeals.

The three-person panel includes a sworn law enforcement officer to be designated by the chair of the Hertford County Board of Commissioners, and individuals chosen by the Hertford County Health Director and the Hertford County Manager.

The ordinance, which was adopted by a unanimous vote of the board, took effect on August 3.