Spotsylvania County's Animal Control Officers were sworn in as Deputy Sheriffs on November 19. The move was a promise kept by Sheriff Roger Harris who, when elected, made it a priority to recognize the Animal Control Officers for the work they actually do.
Harris said that while Animal Control Officers are busy enforcing animal laws, ordinances and regulations, they also routinely assist or require the assistance of their deputy sheriff peers.
"For years the Spotsylvania County Animal Control Officers have been subjected to the same standards and training as our Deputy Sheriffs, but they've been unable to fully exercise this training because they were only sworn to uphold state and county animal regulations," said Harris. In addition, Harris said training of the Division of Animal Control merged with the Sheriff’s Office in February of 2009, and has since been a division of the Sheriff’s Office.
By being sworn in as Deputy Sheriff’s, the Animal Control Officers will still have the primary responsibility of enforcing animal laws, regulations and ordinances but will be recognized by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services as law enforcement officers. This will allow the deputized Animal Control Officers to fully conduct criminal investigations and take criminal enforcement action when needed, to include assisting patrol deputies.
"This change recognizes the hazardous conditions our Animal Control Officers often work under, and helps make the Sheriff’s Office run even more efficiently and effectively with a negligible fiscal impact," said Harris.