Commissioners approve hiring of Animal Protective Services director, assistant

Published 2:33 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

During a special called county commissioners meeting Monday night, the board approved the hiring of a new shelter director and full-time shelter assistant for Animal Protective Services.

The previous director, Jana Aviles, left her post Friday after almost two years on the job. She told The Stanly News & Press in an interview that she was leaving due to staffing problems.

“The shelter has outgrown the current staffing and policies and the community is expecting more out of the shelter,” she said.

Sheriff Jeff Crisco, who oversees the shelter, made the proposal for the positions.

Crisco said the county is getting ready to advertise for the vacant positions and he hopes to have them filled “as soon as possible.”

In the interim, Karen Linker, a part-time employee who worked with Aviles, is working full-time. There are also five full-time Animal Protective Services deputies who are responsible for cleaning and feeding the dogs in the morning and afternoon, though they spend much of their time in the community responding to calls for service.

Crisco said as of Aug. 31, he assigned one deputy to remain at the shelter.

The need for additional employees was prompted in part by an Aug. 9 Animal Welfare report conducted by the Animal Welfare Section of the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which found the shelter was “not in compliance” when it came to having a sufficient number of employees.

“With the most recent inspection from the Department of Ag, due to the number of animals that we have coming through the facility, the animal ratio to the staff, we were deficient,” Crisco said, noting the shelter is having to limit the number of animals it can take in.

The shelter currently has 37 dog kennels and around 21 cat kennels, Crisco said.

During the meeting, Sgt. Tim Rogers, who works full-time as an animal control officer, spoke about all the good work that’s been accomplished at the shelter.

“We’ve returned over the past two years several hundred animals back to their rightful owners in the field,” Rogers said. “And that’s something we’re real proud of as deputies.”

He told commissioners he and the other deputies are at the shelter every day of the year, feeding and cleaning the animals.

“We are there when you guys don’t see us and we are there before the shelter staff gets in and we are there way after they leave,” Rogers said.

He also credited Aviles with her work in improving the shelter. During her time as shelter director, the live release rate improved from about 55 percent in 2020 to 95 percent for the first half of this year.

“She did a fantastic job and she laid the groundwork for us to carry this forward,” Rogers said. “We have no intentions of regressing. We have no intentions of going backwards. We only want to move forward and that’s what we’re going to do.”

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

email author More by Chris