Overland Park working on hiring weekend animal control officers

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Thousands of stray dogs are found along the side of the road every year in the metro.

A viewer contacted me after she had to pay for two strays because her city doesn't have animal control officers on the weekends.

Michelle Turner and her husband foster dogs from time to time and their two dogs are plenty for them full-time.

A couple Sundays ago, Michelle's husband found two stray dogs wandering around 95th and Metcalf. The two didn't have collars and were not micro chipped. They drove around the area looking for their owners, but came up empty. They ended up calling Overland Park Police to get animal control to come pick up the pair. Turner said the dispatcher told her animal control officers were not on duty on the weekends. The only choice they gave her was to take the dogs to a shelter or let them go.

"I just wonder how many people would have just turned them loose? Well the 911 dispatcher told me to turn them loose," Turner said.

Simon Happer with the Overland Park Police Department tells us the three animal control officers they have on staff work during the week because of the high volume of calls.

"Saturday and Sunday are slower days. You might think they would be more because people are home but they aren't," Happer said.

Overland Park police said they are in the process of hiring another animal control officer, but it takes time.

"I still think that the city should still have an animal control officer," Turner said.

Turner and her husband took the two dogs to the Great Plains SPCA. The surrender fee was $50 per dog. SPCA President Courtney Thomas said she understands the frustration many people have over the fee especially if it's an animal they found on the street., but it helps cover food and vaccinations.

"On average we're spending $450 per pet that enters our facilities," Thomas said.

The two dogs were named Lewis and Clark. They are just one of the more than 30,000 animals brought in every year. Clark has been adopted, but Lewis is still looking for a home.

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