Residents call for Animal Control manager’s ouster

WESTMORELAND (KSNT) – A group of people are speaking out about a man who they say has been overusing his power as the head of animal control in Pottawatomie County.

“One voice never seems to work,” said Tanice Edwards about the effort of more than 1,300 people to have the county commissioners “Terminate Ed Hamilton” from his position as the Animal Control officer.

According to the change.org petition started late last week, Hamilton allegedly fatally shot a one-year-old Australian Shepard that was reportedly aggressive. However owners attest in the narrative of the petition that description is untrue.

“I have never heard him growl or be aggressive towards anybody in my life,” owner Briana Dietz said on the petition website. “(Hamilton) took my best friend from me and all he worried about was not going home with stitches.”

But the investigation into this incident is ongoing.

“It’s not this one case, it’s 15 years of cases; of people telling us ‘he killed my dog,'” Edwards said. “And, of course, we don’t know all the facts. Supposedly a neighbor called. We don’t know who the person was.”

Sheriff Greg Riat said the behavior described by Edwards and discussed in the petition is not reflective of department policy.

“In this particular incident we’re talking of, we did receive two calls on that,” Riat said Wednesday. “(Hamilton) did respond to that as well as a deputy did.”

Hamilton is not employed by the sheriff’s department, he is contracted by the county. In his contract, he is required to report all animals bites to different agencies within the county and it does not prohibit him from “killing or otherwise disposing of an animal which threatens to, or does attack, injure or maim (Hamilton).”

But Edwards said there is another way to handle incidents of allegedly dangerous dogs.

“If a dog is actually attacking an animal control officer, it’s better – a stun gun is more effective,” she said. “You don’t know if you can get a kill shot right off the bat.”

petprotest

(Photo courtesy of Casey Matthiesen)

During the Feb. 22 county commissioners meeting, a small group of protesters stood with signs wanting their concerns to be heard. Commissioner Pat Weixelman said the group was on the docket to be heard but there may have been a miscommunication. According to Weixelman no one from the group came in from the protest.

The lastest, according to Riat, has been transferred to the county attorney to be reviewed. It could be presented Monday for the commissioners to hear.

 

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