Updated animal control MOU reflects cost reduction for Kent County

DOVER — A more than $250,000 annual cost reduction in animal control services compared to 2017 is reflected in a recently updated Memorandum of Understanding between Kent County and the Office of Animal Welfare.

The county’s original agreement with the OAW was made in December 2015, and deemed as outdated before Levy Court commissioners approved the latest version taking effect July 1 and running through June 30, 2021.

Under the current agreement, Kent County’s 12-month costs are $618,381.12 compared to $868,972 in 2017 and dropping annually since then. The payment was determined by the fair pricing structure agreed upon in 2017, based on a per capita rate, according to the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.

According to a Levy Court news release, the OAW’s responsibilities include:

• Receive calls from Kent County residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

• Provide Delaware Animal Services officers who will be on duty from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends; and, on-call emergency services after hours.

• Respond to calls regarding stray or aggressive dogs, dogs at large, and dog housing and welfare concerns; Will also respond to calls regarding seriously injured or endangered stray cats and investigate reports of animal cruelty.

• Delaware Animal Services (DAS) will provide assistance to the police and other agencies when necessary.

• Enforce rabies control laws and investigate all cases of human rabies exposures as directed by the Division of Public Health Epidemiology team to ensure animals are properly quarantined.

• DAS will facilitate dog licensing and conduct kennel and retail dog outlet inspections and licensing.

• OAW’s contracted state animal shelter vendor will receive all stray, dangerous, injured abused and quarantined animals that are picked up or seized by the state. The shelter will provide proper housing, care, and medical attention, as well as robust pet/owner reunification and adoption programs.

• All stray animals will be taken to the shelter in the county where found and will be posted immediately to the state’s online lost and found pet registry.

Reports to the OAW can made by calling 255-4646 or contacting an officer on patrol. Correspondence is also available by emailing DelawareAnimalServices@Delaware.Gov or at Office of Animal Welfare, H-150 Carvel Building, 1901 N. Du Pont Hwy, New Castle, DE 19720.

Kent County remains responsible for noise (barking) complaints, which can be addressed by calling the Inspections and Enforcement Division at 744-2451.

To report a complaint, noise disturbances must be continuous or incessant for at least 10 minutes or intermittent for 30. Trespass or threatened trespass by a person waives the guidelines, along with a person teasing or provoking the animal.

Note – This story has been updated from the original version.