Stray pets a worry

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

Without an animal control officer on staff, Iola now handles animal reports one of three ways.
Calls for live domestic animals — dogs or cats — go to the Iola Police Department.
Calls regarding dead animals of any sort go to the Street and Alley Department.
“And if it’s a wild animal,” Mayor Bill Maness said, “you’re on your own.”
He was only half joking.
As protocol stands, Street and Alley crews will remove animal carcasses except on weekends, when police officers will handle those tasks.
Police officers will be summoned if a stray dog or cat is found.
If the animal is wild, and no danger to the public — say a skunk or opossum — then the caller will be referred to a local pest control company. In addition, Officer Eric Lawrence said the police department has animal traps for local residents to use if they wish to remove a live animal from their property themselves. It’s up to the resident to remove the animal after it is snared, Lawrence said.
“We’ve had a few use them so far,” he said.
There is one main change in city response, effective Monday.
Stray dogs taken to Iola Animal Clinic will be kept only three days before they are euthanized, the same grace period given to stray cats. Previously, the city held canines five days.
The city decided against replacing former animal control officer Brian Crites following his resignation earlier this year.

COMMISSIONERS said a part-time employee will be hired as a cashier to replace retiring Sharon Boan, who assisted in the city administrator and city clerk’s offices. City Administrator Judy Brigham noted that before Boan was hired, the position was considered full time.
She recommended the city hire a full-time employee who would help in both offices, then perhaps take over if a vacancy occurred in the utilities office. Commissioners declined the request.
“If I don’t have to add money to the budget, I won’t,” Commissioner Craig Abbott said.

COMMISSIONERS also agreed to modify the city’s meter reading position. Brigham recommended the position change from an hourly to a contracted position. That would give the person more flexibility in reading more than 12,000 electric and gas meters each month, instead of working 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, she said.
In exchange for a slight raise, the employee would not be eligible for sick leave or vacation. The employee would receive health insurance and other benefits.
Commissioners agreed with the proposal. The city’s current meter reader is transferring to another department.
In a routine matter, commissioners updated a number of traffic ordinances within city limits to better clarify rules regarding micro utility trucks and golf carts.
Commissioners also terminated the contract of Randy Slocum, a firefighter and emergency medical technician-intermediate with the Iola Fire Department. No reason was given.