Mason County Sheriff cuts Animal Control

The Mason County Sheriff’s Office has eliminated Animal Control as part of larger budget cuts across the county. (Photo: KOMO News)

MASON COUNTY, Wash. - The Mason County Sheriff’s Office has eliminated Animal Control as part of larger budget cuts across the county.

“I feel really sad for Mason County,” former Mason County Animal Control Officer Cindy Brewer said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what’s going to happen to the animals.”

Last July, the Sheriff’s Office says they were told to slash about $1.5 million by 2018 because of a county shortfall.

Since then, they’ve cut 14 positions, including two lieutenant jobs.

The most recent casualty: Animal Control.

“Because it is not mandated by law,” Chief Criminal Deputy Ryan Spurling explained.

Chief Spurling said their deputies will still respond to criminal animal complaints, but not civil issues, like nuisance or noise complaints.

Not to mention, Spurling said, Cindy Brewer’s expertise in the field will be missed on any animal-related calls.

This year, Brewer was reassigned within the department. She is now an evidence technician.

“When people realize there’s no Animal Control, they’re not going be so inclined to keep their animals under control,” Brewer said.

As for the calls, “[deputies] may not have as fast response time, and also the deputies are going to tell them, ‘sorry, we don’t respond to that,’” Brewer said. “You’re going to have to handle it through the civil court, and that’s going to cost them money out of their own pocket.”

The Mason County Sheriff’s Office estimates they receive about 1,200 calls for animal control each year, but only a small percentage are criminal complaints. Most of those calls will now go unanswered.

Local pet rescue organizations also relied on Animal Control to help them in the rescue process -- picking up stray and abandoned dogs. Adopt-A-Pet Shelton is one of the groups that would then rehome the dogs.

“We can’t do what we want to do. We aren’t getting the dogs in that we should be seeing,” Hansen said. “They will be just left running in the woods and on the street. I don’t know what will happen to them.”

The Sheriff’s Office is still adjusting, and fears they could endure more cuts in the near future.

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