County to assist with stray animals

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Jim Wells County Commissioners entered a formal agreement with the City of Orange Grove to provide animal control services to assist in bringing the stray animal situation under control.

Orange Grove Mayor Seale Brand and City Administrator Rick Lopez came before the court on Tuesday to make their case for the agreement.

"We're seeing a tremendous growth in the number of stray animals and dogs in our area," Brand said.

"We don't have the ability to get it under control. Bringing the sheriff's department in on a regular schedule would start to help us in Orange Grove."

Judge L. Arnoldo Saenz said he had been in discussion, along with Brand and the Alice City Manager Albert Uresti to see if they might be able to work something out with the City of Alice. He said an arrangement is "still up in the air." As part of the proposal, the city of Orange Grove would pay the City of Alice fees for the animals that are taken to the facility in town.

Commissioners also entered into agreement to provide a second COPS in School officer for Orange Grove ISD.

The sheriff's department deputy would serve at Orange Grove Intermediate School and Orange Grove Junior High.

The officer will not enforce school policies, but will assist the district in creating a safer environment by strengthening school security, according to the agreement.

Deputy Manuel Gonzalez currently serves as the COPS in Schools officer for Orange Grove High School. Sgt. Rey Aguilar, the previous OGHS officer is currently recovering from injuries he received this summer in an accident. COPS in Schools Supervisor Lt. Cosme Castillo said Aguilar should return to duty by December.

As part of the second COPS in Schools agreement, OGISD agreed to pay the officer's salary of $26,000 and $4,000 for equipment.