At a Greenbrier County Commission meeting earlier last month, James Shortridge assumed the title of Animal Control Officer (ACO) for Greenbrier County, due to the retirement of the previous officer, Robert McClung.
Shortridge has previously been an ACO for the county from 2009-2011, but became a member of the security team at the courthouse after the county commission downsized from three animal control officers to one.
“I love the animals and the outdoors, and we have some great veterinarians in the county to work with. I’m looking forward to helping out the county,” said Shortridge.
Shortridge has already completed three levels of training offered from the National Animal Control Association, which covers topics such as animal capture techniques, officer and animal safety, behavior analysis, and more. These skills are pertinent to officers being able to handle animals of an unknown or aggressive disposition out in the field. The ACO deals with standard domestic animals, while the game warden or other specialists help deal with wild or uncommon animals.
Greenbrier County Sheriff Bruce Sloan said, “James was the obvious choice for the position, due to his past experience, training, work ethic, and people skills.”
Previously under direction of the county commission, the sheriff’s office now oversees the ACO position. This means the animal control officer reports to the sheriff instead of the county commissioners. A deputy sheriff is currently in place as a humane officer, who investigates animal owners in cases of a criminal nature, including abuse or neglect cases. ACO regulations and laws remain the same, as well as the current policies. However, Sheriff Sloan said he plans to review the polices and possibly make changes if needed.
The ACO office will still be located in the Greenbrier County Courthouse, and the phone number remains the same. The officer can be reached at 304-645-9080, or by calling the non-emergency 911 line at 304-647-7911. “People can call for advice if they need it,” says Shortridge, “or if they need me to come out. We take calls all day.”