The Clay County Sheriff’s Deputy Kirk Horton will soon have a new partner, thanks to the support of the community.
On Sept. 16, Horton will leave for Kansas to begin training with a new drug dog to be purchased through donations. The dog, a 2-year-old female Belgian Malanois, will come at a cost of $9,500 from K-9 Working Dogs International. The dog is valued at $12,500, said Sheriff Kenny Lemons, but the company offered the department a $3,000 “grant” toward the purchase.
Clay County Commissioners approved acceptance of the donations during Monday’s regular meeting.
Horton, who is an experienced drug dog handler, will go through a five-day training session with the new dog. On their return, Horton will house and care for the animal. Lemons said there will be enough left in the drug dog fund to provide feed and maintenance for a period of time. He did not specify how much the department had raised through donations. Funds from the account will be used to have the dog spayed.
The last drug dog to serve the CCSO was also a Belgian Malanois, which is similar to a German shepherd, but smaller in stature. Named Piwi, the dog was struck and killed on Hwy. 287 in 2010.
K-9 Working Dogs International guarantees the dog’s health for a period of five years. Commissioners suggested the sheriff look into insuring the dog and Lemons said he is aware of a policy for drug dogs provided by the Texas Association of Counties.
In other business, commissioners:
- Lifted a burn ban that had been in place since July 9. The ban was lifted due to recent rains.
- Approved election judges and alternate judges for a period of one year; approved the pay rate for poll workers at $12 per hour; and set the rental fee for polling places at $75 per location.
- Accepted a bid of $25,400 from Aspen Elevator for upgrades to the courthouse elevator, making it fire service compliant.
- Approved the monthly treasurer’s report, and advertisement of the same.
- Denied a salary increase request by County Attorney Seth Slagle following an Aug. 24 meeting of the county’s salary grievance committee. See related story
- Discussed possible participation in a purchasing conglomerate headed by the Harris County Department of Education. Commissioners took no action in entering into an interlocal agreement.
- Approved a renewal agreement between Clay County and Appriss, Inc., for the Clay County VINE system. The system, which is partially funded by probation fees.
- Approved the Texas Association of Counties health insurance and benefits package for the new fiscal year.
A motion to increase fees charged to oil and gas companies for crossing county roads with pipelines from $200 to $500 died for the lack of a second.
In items concerning approval of the budget for fiscal year 2013, commissioners held the first of two required public hearings wit the second set for Sept. 10; approved a public hearing for Sept. 24, after which, commissioners will consider approval of the budget; and approved advertisement of a public hearing on Sept. 10 concerning the county clerk’s records management and preservation plan and archive fees.