Horn steps down; cites cuts to animal control

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Jul 02, 2013 - 02:40 PM

Ralph Horn, animal control officer for Mathews County, resigned from his position effective June 30.

Horn said in a recent interview that the county had "cut animal control to the quick," with services "cut back to nothing."

He said his salary and benefits were cut, as well. His hours were reduced to 29 hours a week, and his medical and retirement benefits were discontinued. He was able to retire, however, with full benefits.

"It’s been difficult," Horn said of the recent changes to his position. "What upsets me more than anything else are the animals that are going to be neglected because the services have been cut. I spent nearly 14 years building that department up from nothing. It’s a shame to see everything change so rapidly."

Horn served as animal control officer in the county for 13½ years, also pulling a stint as a deputy with the sheriff’s office for a couple of years during the last part of Sheriff Danny Howlett’s tenure and the beginning of Sheriff Mark Barrick’s current term.

"It worked very well when we were in the sheriff’s office," he said, "but with the change of power, Mark decided he didn’t want animal control and shifted everything back."