Adding the city of Wilmington to its client list, Delaware’s Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) has now assumed animal control duties for the entire state.
Delaware Animal Services (DAS) is the enforcement arm within the OAW. Effective last Friday, DAS’s animal control officers are now responsible for dog and dangerous dog control, animal cruelty and rabies control within city limits.
“We are excited to work with Wilmington leadership to serve animals and residents in the city,” said Crystal Webb, Division of Public Health deputy director. “This is the last phase in the effort to consolidate animal control enforcement at the state level, while maintaining strong partnerships with city leaders to address local needs.”
Brandywine Valley SPCA had temporarily provided animal control services for the city since September 2015, when the First State Animal Center and SPCA (formerly Kent County SPCA) suddenly terminated its services.
The Pennsylvania-based shelter, formerly Chester County SPCA, was selected last November as the state’s sheltering partner, meaning it would house the animals brought in by state animal control officers.
“Animal control in an urban setting is an extremely important service, and the city looks forward to working with the Office of Animal Welfare. I believe the Office of Animal Welfare will ensure the health and safety of the community, as well as all the stray animals they will be caring for,” Mayor Dennis Williams said.
The state provides a 24-hour hotline, 302-255-4646, to report a stray or dangerous dog, incidents of animal cruelty or possible exposure to the rabies virus.
Information about other animal welfare resources, like dog licenses or the lost and found pet registry can be on the DAS website.
“Our goal is a seamless transition for city residents. As we move into this new phase, the OAW particularly wants to highlight the first statewide lost and found pet registry,” said Hetti Brown, OAW director. “All animals picked up by our officers are immediately posted with a case number and instructions for retrieving lost pets. The public may also post found or lost pets on the site, improving the likelihood that those pets will find their way home.”
Animals rescued by DAS will be taken to BVSPCA’s shelter in New Castle.
State lawmakers established the OAW in 2013 to consolidate pet programs and services under a statewide umbrella. The state now manages things like a low-cost spay and neuter program and most recently animal control.