Plantersville’s animal control officer honored during recent MML conference

Officer Jason Lessel gets the public safety award for his efforts at reducing stray dogs through a registration program

PLANTERSVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Less than two years after starting the animal control department in Plantersville, Officer Jason Lessel was recognized by his peers during the recent MML conference.

“I was surprised, but honored,” Lessel said.

Lessel has been a police officer with Plantersville for six years but saw a need for an animal control officer to help deal with an increasing number of stray dogs that ended up at the Tupelo Lee Humane Society.

So in October of 2021, Lessel brought the issue before the board of aldermen. He was named the town’s animal control officer. Since then, Lessel has put together a system to get every dog in the town registered. He said that has helped reunite stray dogs with their owners many times.

“We’ve taken some pets home that were loose because they had the town tag on them, that way they didn’t have to go to the shelter and pay shelter fees while the shelter took care of them, it’s helped all around, plus I’ve seen a decrease in loose dogs since then,” Lessel said.

Lessel is a certified animal control officer, and that certification is not required in Mississippi, but Officer Lessel said there are lots of advantages to the special training.

“A lot of towns are trying to get away from the old days of the dog catcher where they go pick up a dog and this way you’ve got paperwork, showing why you did it, where it went, any citations that may be given, need to make you’re a certified officer in all those fields,” he said.

Lessel has also organized field days, where vaccinations, microchipping, and other services are offered to local pet owners at reduced costs.

The next field day for vaccinations and registrations will take place this fall.

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