Sups approve animal control officer contract

The Webster County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a 3 percent increase to the animal control officer contract.

Board Chairman Bob Singer explained the increase is to cover expenses.

Current Animal Control Officer Blaine Hepp receives more than $60,000 for his services.

“The control officer is not an employee of the county but an independent contractor, and he provides all of the equipment,” Singer said. “He’s on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and provides the county with a certificate of insurance each year.”

The city of Fort Dodge pays 75 percent of the contract and the county pays 25 percent, Singer said.

“Ultimately, we’re not able to contract with someone else for a competitive figure, so we join the city in this,” he said.

The increase was recommended by the city, Singer said. It was brought to the board’s attention after the contract had been approved with zero increase.

Supervisor Mark Campbell said he wanted Hepp to speak to the board.

“I’d like to see him come talk to us and explain, I think there’s some confusion out there about what his responsibilities are,” he said.

Singer explained Hepp’s responsibilities as including responding to life-threatening situations.

“When he goes out on a call, it’s a most interesting situation,” he said.

Supervisor Merrill Leffler was concerned about how the increase was presented to the board.

“I just have problems with the process,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with going ahead and giving him the 3 percent increase.”

Singer explained the board was not contacted when it was preparing its budget. Singer added that 85 to 90 percent of Hepp’s calls come from Fort Dodge.

“The primary employer, if you will, is the city,” he said. “We do manage the contract and do entertain calls here once in a while.”

Sheriff Jim Stubbs said it would be time consuming for the Webster County Sheriff’s Department to respond to all animal control calls.

“We went a time without any animal control officer and then deputies, including myself, had to pick up dogs and throw them in the back seat,” Sheriff Jim Stubbs said. “People we put in the backseat sometimes aren’t real clean, but dogs that are out running in the fields and dredge ditches really aren’t clean. It just didn’t work.”