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Letter: City needs an animal control officer


NOTE: Barbara Christian read this at the August 7, 2023 City of Barnwell council meeting during public comment and has since submitted it to The People-Sentinel as a Letter to the Editor.*

Hello, my name is Barbara Christian. I live on Huntington Drive in District 1. I want to address the recent statement that was made about not replacing the animal control officer.

The mayor stated in the newspaper, the vacant animal control officer position remains in the budget, though Mayor Marcus Rivera believes animal control duties could be handled by other officers.

It was also stated if the position was removed from the budget, that would save approximately $74,000 in salary and benefits, per Ms. Kim Vargo.

We now know that not having an animal control officer, and having all of the officers handle the animal control duties, has not worked. Case in point, Miss Rose being attacked.

Not only did two women get attacked that day, but stemming from that attack 27 dogs were killed that were with the pack that attacked them.

I posed a list of questions when the council first decided to not fill this position at the beginning of the year. Those questions have not changed, nor have they been addressed. I can give you that list again if you have misplaced the one I had already given to you and Chief Robinson.

As for the second part about saving money in the budget, how much is it? $74,000? Mr. Mayor, is this how much you believe someone’s life is worth? $74,000? I do know my life and the lives of my family is worth a whole lot more than $74,000.

So, I am imploring the council to consider this decision carefully for the citizens of Barnwell and their safety, as well as the liability of the city.

Barbara Christian,