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City bylaw officers help short-handed humane society

Though the Humane Society’s animal control team is short a body, the organization’s executive director promises that 24-7 service will continue as usual.
“We’ve actually got bylaw officers that are not scheduled to work coming in and helping out,” said executive director Michelle Gellatly.
If there are delays in response to animal control calls, it is more likely to be because of volume than being short-staffed, she said.
Her comments were in response to a city staff memo posted online by Ward 2 councillor Ian Findlay that said the humane society “may be short animal control staff for approximately eight hours a day.”
“It’s definitely not the case,” said Gellatly.
The organization, which is contracted to provide animal control services to the city, is in the process of hiring to cover a maternity leave on its animal control team, but it’s not true that there will be a gap in service, she said.
Instead, the humane society is paying city bylaw officers to cover any gaps, and at the same time is using the shortage as an opportunity to do some cross-training.
“I though it was a good idea, so we could both understand each other’s roles,” said Gellatly.
When it comes to animal control, city bylaw officers are typically responsible for enforcing the city’s bylaws, such as leash laws, whereas the humane society is responsible for dealing with wildlife calls and keeping the streets clear of road kill.
The cross-training will help each department better understand when it’s appropriate to call in the other’s help, said Gellatly.
It’s also helping to make sure animal control is not short-staffed while a new person is hired, a process that Gellatly said should not take more than a couple of weeks.
In the meantime, the humane society is also well supported, not just by the city, but also by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA), which helps with cruelty investigations, and by the Guelph Police Service, which is occasionally called in to assist on calls, said Gellatly. “We’ve got lots of support,” she said.

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