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MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – An estimated 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S. each year according to the American Humane Association. One Monroe County Veterinarian is familiar with the statistics and has noticed an increase in abandoned dogs roaming through the area.

Stray animals roaming the streets can lead to animal cruelty, or even attacks on residents. District 3 Monroe County Board Supervisor and veterinarian Carol Crawford says the county needs to hire a full time animal control officer to keep the public safe.

“It distresses our citizens. It distresses their children. It’s unnecessary. It’s harmful to everyone including the pets who expect humans to take care of them. I believe the county should step up to the plate, the Board of Supervisors specifically, and provide for this need. It’s a government need because private individuals cannot do this,” says Crawford.

Not everyone agrees with Crawford. Fellow Supervisor Doug Wiggins of District 1 says the county simply can’t afford it.

“One of the things that concerns me with it is the cost that would be associated with operating such a shelter. You have the cost of building a facility. You have the cost of staffing that facility. It’s just that it could run into a large expense that’s not a budgeted item. There’s currently no money in the budget to support such a program in Monroe county at this time,” says Wiggins.

While budget concerns loom over every county in the state, Crawford says asking residents to pitch in a few extra bucks to increase animal safety isn’t too much to ask.

“It’s been said that we’d have to raise taxes but once again, I believe that we could probably find some money in the budget if we just look hard enough. Even if we did, it would be probably less than $10 a year overall per landowner,” says Crawford.

There are two animal shelters already in Monroe County, however, they only serve within the city limits of Aberdeen and Amory.

The Board says they will continue to research their options.

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