Despite being cleared of any wrongdoing by a sheriff's office investigation, Bay County's Animal Control Division remains under scrutiny.
County officials are conducting their own internal review. At the county's request, 19 representatives of the University of Florida's Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program are in town this week, looking at all aspects of the county animal shelter's operations.
During Tuesday's county commission meeting, General Services Director Jamie Jones presented an update on recent changes at the shelter. They include a remodeled lobby and a new room for shots and micro chipping, Jones said. He also told commissioners that staff is rewriting operating procedures, developing a new training manual and scanning paper records to convert them into electronic media.
Some of the steps come as a result of complaints from animal rights advocates who have been very critical of the county's program. Commission chairman George Gainer is heading up an effort to standardize polices and said he hopes to work with volunteers to change the image of the Animal Control Division.
"You have a lot of conflict within those groups," said Gainer. "We're trying to work all that out so we can utilize all these resources and all these wonderful people that really care about animals in Bay County."
Ed Smith, County Manager, told the board he will continue to seek input from various agencies and volunteers to further enhance the division's operations, with the ultimate goal of adopting out more animals.