Kent Co. Could Look to Pa. Organization for Animal Control - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Kent Co. Could Look to Pa. Organization for Animal Control

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Kent County, Del., looks ready to get its animal control services from an organization in Chester County, Pa., at least on a temporary basis.

The need for every county in Delaware and the city of Wilmington to find new animal control providers started last month. First State Animal Center and SPCA in Camden had been handling it statewide.

But in July the center announced it would terminate its contracts effective in mid-September. That came after the Delaware General Assembly decided to shift animal control responsibilities to the state Office of Animal Welfare.

Kent County officials say the state will be able to take over Jan. 1, but that leaves a three and a half month gap in coverage.

And the counties and Wilmington have to have someone to take care of animal control during that time. So, they've had to scramble to find an viable emergency, temporary option.

Kent County is finalizing an agreement with the Chester County SPCA.

Options for short-term animal control services were extremely limited, according to Kent County administrator Mike Petit de Mange. He says there just aren't that many organizations that do it.

"We're very fortunate that we were able to find a vendor, a very capable vendor to step in and provide the service on short notice," Petit de Mange said.

That vendor is based in West Chester, Penn. That's 90 minutes north of Dover. But Petit de Mange says Kent County residents shouldn't worry about the distance.

"If we do get to a contract, they would be standing up an enforcement unit here in Kent County... actual animal control officers who work for Chester County SPCA stationed here in Kent County to do the job," he said.

There would be a local number to call for issues. And animals would be housed locally, not in Pennsylvania.

Chester County SPCA Executive Director Adam Lamb says his organization is "no kill," and its Delaware operation would run that way, too.

"We would in no way, shape or form take on this if we thought we wouldn't be able to continue our 'no kill' status," said Lamb.

The city of Wilmington has formally agreed to use Chester County SPCA's services. Petit De Mange expects to close on Kent County's contract with the organization next week.

"They've got the ability, the capability, the equipment and the trained staff to meet the need. And we're confident that they will deliver on a short-term basis for Kent County."

Late Friday the chief administrative officer for New Castle County told WBOC New Castle and Sussex counties have reached a tentative agreement to keep using Camden-based First State Animal Center and SPCA until the state takes over.

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