There are 39 counties in Washington state. San Juan County is one of only six counties that does NOT have a dedicated animal control officer, let alone anyone trained in animal control protocols.
For over 10 years a group of citizens has regularly appealed to our Sheriff’s department to send at least one deputy to Animal Control Officer training conducted by WACA, the Washington Animal Control Association. The group has offered to pay the expense for this. Arrangements have been made for FREE, in-house ACO training for San Juan County sheriff’s deputies. This offer was declined by our current sheriff.
As a former employee of our animal shelter, I continue to get phone calls from citizens who have witnessed animal neglect or abuse. Often these are people who have reported cases to the Sheriff’s Department but have not gotten a satisfactory response. This often stems from the fact that our deputies have not had training in animal control procedures. Sadly, it would seem our current Sheriff’s department does not place value on animal welfare and that culture is very often reflected in law enforcement’s response to reports of cruelty or neglect.
For these reasons, I will be voting for Eric Peter for Sheriff in November.
During Eric’s tenure here as a deputy he has shown a genuine concern for animal welfare and a willingness to make the changes necessary to ensure we have access to legitimate, responsive animal control. Eric also plans to better educate our community about animal welfare issues, so we can all be better stewards. Eric understands that there are no excuses for a county the size and scope of ours to not have an ACO. Eric is also very much aware that animal abuse often goes hand in hand with human abuse. He will make it a priority to address this.
We are a rural community with many farm animals. Most San Juan County residents have pets. I believe our residents deserve legitimate, professional animal control and a sheriff willing to hear our voices.
San Juan Island