With a little help from the town next door, Archer Lodge can once again offer animal control to its residents.
In a contract signed last week, the town agreed to pay the Town of Clayton for animal control on a per-call basis.
Under the agreement, Clayton’s animal-control officer, Angela Lee, will respond when Archer Lodge residents have complaints and questions.
Lee will place and check traps, collect dangerous dogs and feral cats, take those animals to the Johnston County Animal Shelter and provide basic education to the public.
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In return, Archer Lodge will pay its neighbor on a per-trip basis. The town has budgeted about $18,000 for animal control this fiscal year.
Archer Lodge Mayor Mike Gordon swore in Lee as an officer of the town on July 13.
Lee, a native of Clayton, said she looks forward to serving Archer Lodge residents. “I probably know a lot of you, but if I don’t, I look forward to meeting you,” she said.
Gordon told Lee that it might be a “mad rush in the beginning,” because months of calls have gone unanswered.
Johnston County had handled animal control for the town of 4,500 people just northeast of Clayton. But out of fairness to other towns that weren’t getting the service, the county stopped sending its officer to calls in Archer Lodge at the end of last year.
The town has had no way to handle dangerous dogs, feral cats and other animals since then.
Town Councilman Carlton Vinson said the agreement exemplified the type of collaboration that can happen between nearby towns.
“Hopefully this will be the first of many things we can do together,” Vinson said.
Lee will work from a newly created Archer Lodge animal-control ordinance, which is nearly identical to Clayton’s.
Some differences: Archer Lodge’s ordinance doesn’t ban residents from keeping livestock or selling young chickens, ducks and rabbits. Also, Archer Lodge’s ordinance leaves out rules for pet shops, kennels and catteries, and the town won’t hold owners responsible for problems caused by their animals on someone else’s land.
Under the agreement, residents should call 911 about dangerous dogs and feral cats. Other complaint calls and education-related service calls should go to 919-553-4611.