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Grand Traverse County looks to improve animal control department

Grand Traverse County

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY (WPBN/WGTU) -- Grand Traverse County is looking for ways to improve its animal control department.

On Wednesday an ad hoc committee met to talk about how they can help the department forward.

"We are doing a combined effort to really come together and streamline our animal control division," said Grand Traverse County Animal Control Officer Deb Zarafa.

Zarafa is one of only two animal control officers for Grand Traverse County. She said this meeting is all about finding out exactly how much animal control coverage the county needs and how they can accomplish that.

"We have a lot of really good things in place right now," said Zarafa.

Another big topic discussed was safety protocols, such as knowing when animal control officers should reach out to law enforcement for back up.

Both Grand Traverse County Sheriff Tom Bensley and Traverse City Police Chief Jeff O'Brien said they are there to help whenever its needed.

Another possible safety measure brought up tonight was allowing animal control officers to carry guns.

"There is nothing that we are aware of that says she cannot carry a gun other than county policy," said Sheriff Bensley.

Sheriff Bensley said that's a policy that can be changed if the county wants.

Another big problem the county is facing is finding enough money to properly fund the animal control department.

"We envision that between the licensing fees and getting the word out for revenue for the program that we will be greater funded in the future," said Zarafa.

Though it is the law for people to have dog licenses Zarafa said many people still don't have one.

Now a citizen volunteer board will look into different ways on how to incentivize people to get a license.

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