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City hires Winner as its animal control officer

The City of Auburn has hired an Indiana man to be its new animal control officer.

According to Auburn Assistant Chief William Pierson, George Winner, the new ACO, was recently part of Indianapolis' 35 officer, round-the-clock animal control operation.

"The amount of experience he obtained just during his time there is very extensive, so we think we bring a very good guy with a great education and a great background here," Pierson said.

Winner assumes his duties Jan. 1, in conjunction with the opening of the animal shelter on A Street Southeast. While the Auburn Valley Humane Society runs the shelter, the City is responsible for Winner's salary.

The new ACO will drive a white vehicle, a brand new Ford 250 chassis with animal control on the side and a cage box in the back.

Winner, who will work mostly a day shift with weekends off, will have his own office at the police department. The City intends to publish a phone number for him, although it encourages residents to use the 911 system to phone in animal complaints.

If the ACO is not working, a police officer will respond. If an officer is not available, calls will be directed to the ACO phone, and Winner will respond when he returns to work.

The City has completely changed the section of the City Code concerning animal control, and those changes are headed toward a vote by the City Council.

"Once it's approved, we think there will be a lot of benefits for the residents of the city," Pierson said of the updated section of the City Code.

Pierson said Winner's primary duty will be to enforce the statute.

"Along with enforcement comes education and awareness, and that's what we really want to push," Pierson said. "We want people to be aware that we're going to be paying a lot more attention to animal issues than we have in the past. This doesn't mean we're going to ticket everybody and make life difficult, but there's going to be a big education piece.

"Obviously, there are those instances that need enforcement, and on those we will try to use our discretion. For this first year or so, we hope to educate more than enforce," Pierson said.

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