Rockingham Debates Animal Control Issues

07/21/11 7:04AM By Kirk Carapezza

(Host) The town of Rockingham is debating whether to hire the county sheriff to manage animal control issues.

Towns have traditionally handled that responsibility themselves, often using a local constable.

But Rockingham has called the Windham County Sheriff's Department when needed. And the department is setting up a program that would dedicate one person to handle animal control for the area.

But some in Rockingham question how effective the sheriff would be. Thomas McPhee is chair of the Rockingham Select Board. He says he's reluctant to agree to a contract with the sheriff because the bulk of the animal control issues have been within the village of Bellows Falls.

(McPhee) "There's been very few complaints that I'm aware of within the town of Rockingham outside the village of Bellows Falls. We need certainly to have protection when there is an issue. We certainly need to do that."

(Host) Others on the select board want a Rockingham resident to be appointed the town's animal control officer.

Meanwhile, the select board estimates contracting with the Bellows Falls Police for animal control could cost the town about $700,000 over the next several years.

There's no word on how much the sheriff would charge Rockingham for animal control.

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