Sign In

New Dog-Control

June 17, 2020

Sussex County has been out of the dog-control business for nearly five years, but county officials will still pay $768,000 a year to the state to provide services.

At its June 2 teleconference meeting, Sussex County Council approved a new memorandum of understanding with the state Office of Animal Welfare for animal, dangerous dog and rabies control, and animal cruelty investigations.

The original memorandum was signed in 2015 when animal control, which had been a county function, was taken over by the state. The county pays the state $64,030.36 at the start of each month. Since the state took over animal control, service calls have increased 26 percent.

Delaware Animal Services is the enforcement unit of the Office of Animal Welfare, with certified animal welfare officers on duty weekdays and weekends and on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Officers respond to calls regarding stray or aggressive dogs, dogs at large, and dog housing and welfare concerns.

The primary role of the officers is dog control. However, they also respond to calls for severely injured or endangered stray cats and investigate reports of animal cruelty.

Brandywine Valley SPCA is under contract with the state to provide the services outlined in the contract as the designated shelter provider for Sussex County. The SPCA operates out of two locations in Sussex. It took over the former Georgetown SPCA building on Route 113, and renovated and modernized the facility. Brandywine also purchased the former Safe Haven shelter on Shingle Point Road near Georgetown.

Brandywine receives all strays, dangerous, injured, abused and quarantined animals that are picked up by state officers. Brandywine is charged with providing housing, care and medical attention, as well as pet-owner reunification and adoption programs. Brandywine was the first no-kill shelter in the nation.

But as Brandywine’s Director of Administration Walter Fenstermacher explained, the SPCA goes beyond its contract to provide other programs including veterinarian services, spay-neuter clinics, pet food distributions and a trap-neuter-vaccinate-return program for feral cats. He said in 2019, throughout the state, 2,600 feral cats were treated and released.

He said a private fund has been established to assist pet owners with veterinarian care.

Fenstermacher said SPCA staff works with pet owners who are struggling financially who can’t afford food or medical service. “Our goal is keeping pets in their homes outside of the shelter,” he said.

The former Safe Haven shelter has become a national facility to accept pets that are victims of natural disasters, he said, with more than 2,000 pets rescued so far.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more