County manager "thrilled" about the trajectory of county's Animal Control
Animal control, especially in the age of social media, is one of those government services that will always receive criticism from some members of the public.
County Manager Carlos Tobar and the county commissioners have heard plenty in recent years, as few issues bring people out to meetings like cats and dogs in distress. Although Tobar said that "we're always striving to get better," he also is "thrilled" and "super excited" about the direction in which Baldwin County Animal Control is headed.
The county government definitely has opened up its checkbook. The budget for Animal Control five years ago was $195,700, and payroll was minimal. There were three full-time employees and no part-time employees. Animal Control operated out of a small building near the old Sallie Davis school.
Fast forward five years, and the budget for Animal Control has doubled. The number of full-time employees also has doubled. Staffing now consists of two officers, two kennel technicians, a vet tech, a director and several part-time employees. Animal Control now operates out of a 4,000-square-foot facility that first opened in late 2019, made possible by $222,000 in SPLOST funding...
Previously the county jail, the new animal shelter was ground zero in the saga of Cletus the Viral Goat, who escaped on multiple occasions back in April 2022 and became a Baldwin County legend, thanks to his determination and his ability to always screw things up.
Cletus the Viral Goat
Animal Control also has a new director, Samantha Basso, who took over earlier this year. Basso previously worked as a volunteer at the animal shelter while she was attending Georgia College, all part of a volunteer program called Shelter Buddies.
"Samantha is doing a great job. I'm certainly glad we have her in that position," Tobar said. "Working in animal control is one of the toughest jobs in the county. It is a physically demanding job and an emotionally draining position. All employees know that not all the animals they care for will find a forever home. They love animals. They love and care for animals that may eventually be euthanized. One or more of them have to take them to the veterinarian and watch as an animal loses its life. That is an emotionally difficult environment to work in. Our Animal Control employees should be supported by everybody in this community."
The county government currently is looking for a vet tech, and the job description can be read HERE.