Animal control gets authority to rescue pets after disasters

Animal control gets authority to rescue pets after disasters

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After the Hallam tornado 10 years ago, the city of Lincoln’s Animal Control staff went door to door with emergency workers, rounding up pets that had to be abandoned when the people who lived in the homes were asked to leave.

That night and the next day, they picked up four or five dogs, a couple of cats and 10 raccoons -- pets who lived in a family’s basement. They took the animals to the Capital Humane Society, which cared for them until the owners could find housing and pick them up.

The City/County Health Department’s Animal Control staff handled the emergency rescue even though it had no authority to work outside of the city limits. The department also was not paid for any of that work.

Now, the Lincoln City Council and Lancaster County Board have reached an agreement giving Animal Control the job of rescuing pets outside the city limits during a disaster. Animal Control also would qualify for reimbursement from federal or state emergency disaster funds, and if that funding falls through, the county would pay for the pet rescue work.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7250 or nhicks@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSNancyHicks.

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