New animal control officer is educated, experienced
With the opening of Harrison County’s first animal control facility near, Harrison County’s first animal control officer is already on duty.
Michael A. Gentry, a 42-year-old Jeffersonville native, is certified in animal control, through the Animal Control Academy in Bowling Green, Ohio, and has completed courses in animal diseases and testing, plus preventive disease methods.
‘I’m experienced in just about all aspects of animal control,’ he said.
He expects the facility off Quarry Road in north Corydon to open in just a few weeks.
And even though at least one person may be hired to help, Gentry said, ‘I will need volunteers. The more the community is involved, the better.’
He asks the community to understand that all of the animal-related problems won’t be resolved in a day. ‘It will take a while,’ he said.
He and the commissioners are currently formulating the necessary ordinances regarding animal control, recovery and adoption fees, etc., that will be put in place, as soon as the office is ready to open.
J.R. Eckart, chairman of the board of county commissioners, said Gentry was chosen from the 46 people who applied because of his experience and training.
‘He had actually worked in animal control in a management position,’ Eckart said. ‘He has had the state’s required training through Purdue.’
Gentry’s experience includes serving as the animal control officer in Jeffersonville from 1989 to 1996 and in 1988 in New Albany. He has completed courses in rabies control prevention, professionalism, animal cruelty, investigation techniques, animal behavior, human behavior, conflict management, shelter, field and court procedures, tranquilization in the field and certified dog attack survivalist.
Gentry, a soft-spoken man, said he completed a course in Illinois on animal handling, which sent him into a cage with a 90-pound pit bull. Safe handling of an aggressive dog calls for ‘controlling the bite,’ Gentry said.
That’s why he wore a padded sleeve on his arm, which he offered to the dog’s gnarling, gaping mouth. Once the dog chomped down on Gentry’s arm and wouldn’t let loose, he guided the animal out of harm’s way.
He is also trained in euthanizing animals, which he will do when necessary. That would be when an animal is too ill or aggressive for handling or because the facility is overcrowded. ‘It is not something I like to do, but it’s a necessary evil,’ he said.
Euthanization will be less frequent ‘ if ‘people are responsive to spay and neuter programs.’
He said, ‘If you don’t spay and neuter, you’re never going to get a handle on strays or pet over-population.’
The county animal control facility itself is state-of-the-art and will serve the community well, Gentry said. ‘I was really impressed.
‘The commissioners have done a wonderful job with building the facility,’ he said. ‘Somebody did a lot of homework.’
He plans to focus as much as possible on pet adoptions, as long as there is room at the facility. And any animal that is adopted will first be spayed or neutered.
A lost-and-found program will also be implemented, Gentry said. ‘If you have your dog tagged, that’s a ticket home,’ he said. ‘I can trace that tag’ to the owner.