KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – In Kinston, the issues with stray dogs in the area will now be under new leadership. 

One resident, Quarla Blackwell, lost two of her own dogs to the strays in town. She’s seen improvement since but is hopeful more will be done with the county taking over.

“They’ve gotten complaints about these dogs, years before I had problems with them,” said Blackwell. “I see that they have apprehended quite a bit of dogs since then.”

Currently, Kinston Police Department is in charge of animal control within the city but will soon hand the responsibilities off to the Lenoir County Health Department.

“It’s become such a major issue, I think that will be a great idea, you know, stop counting on police officers that are busy taking care of criminals,” said Blackwell.

The health department already has an animal control department, but will now consolidate the city as well. 

“For law enforcement, they’re really busy, you know, in their duties,” said Lenoir County Health Director Pamela Brown. “When their animal control officer is off duty, I imagine it’s a lot on those officers.”

The director said they are working to get more boots on the ground to handle the larger area to respond to.

“We have a supervisor and two officers. Before we take over the city operations, though, we’re in the process of hiring two others, so we’ll have a team of five,” said Brown.

She added they will implement their process and procedures for Kinston.

“You have to say, you know, these are going to be the things that I respond to fastest or first, those are my prioritized calls. So, we’ve got that in place, and we just hope to roll that over into the city,” said Brown.

The Lenoir County Health Director added that they hope to have everything up and running within the city sometime in September or October.