The Ellis County Commissioners Court received several recommendations from its Animal Control Committee during Monday night’s meeting.

“We got some good input from citizens,” Pct. 1 Commissioner Dennis Robinson said.  “We had a lot of different viewpoints, and some areas (of the county) have different problems than others.  

“Our goal was to get recommendations and solutions to bring back to the court to help provide added animal control that is cost effective to the citizens of Ellis County,” said Robinson, who served as the committee’s chairman.

Meeting several times since its inception, committee members sought and received input from citizens and officials.

Committee member JoAnn Livingston presented the recommendations to the commissioners, noting the first was to keep the current ordinance as it is now. While several of the committee members recommended putting the “running at large” language back into the ordinance, no one on the committee wanted to return to how it was previously amended in September, when those words were removed, she said.

It was in December that commissioners amended the ordinance again to allow stray and abandoned animals to be picked up on a resident’s complaint, with the committee formed Jan. 4.

Another recommendation was to develop a written procedure for the disposal of dead animals, as county officers are taking deceased animals to the SPCA, where the county is charged about $39 per animal as opposed to less costly methods.

The third recommendation is for the county to initiate talks with cities in Ellis County to explore the possibility of a joint animal control facility. These talks could include a workshop in the future, exploring the possible creation of an exploratory committee.

“The future is to have a county-wide facility,” Robinson said, with Livingston noting one of the committee members had visited with several cities and found interest in those officials.

The committee has recommended the county negotiate a per-dog fee with the Ellis County SPCA on either a monthly or quarterly pay basis. This action would be at the time of the next contract renewal with the SPCA.

The fifth recommendation is to have the Ellis County SPCA provide input to the county on a survey to be sent to local veterinarians. The survey would be sent out by the county and would ask the vets for their input on the animal control issue.

As a final recommendation, the committee has asked commissioners to leave it in place, with the next meeting to be after the general election so as to meet with the sheriff-elect.

The agenda item was a discussion item only. While no action was taken, commissioners indicated their support.

In other business, assistant county attorney Lee Auvenshine asked the commissioners to consider a payment to Wray and Willett PLLC for $11,552.09 for legal services performed on behalf of Ellis Prairie Soil and Water Conversation District. The district is in opposition to a petition pending before the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality and the State Office of Administration Hearings.

The petition seeks to create the Maypearl Water Control and Improvement District, which would support a proposed housing development of about 800 homes.

“The area of the development is larger than the city of Maypearl,” Pct. 3 Commissioner Heath Sims said. “The fight we are in doesn’t only affect Pct. 3, but will affect us county-wide. It will affect county services. It will be a burden on the whole county.”

County Judge Chad Adams said he would study how to allocate the cost of the fee.

“This sends a message to the state and developers for the development of communities in the middle of nowhere,” Adams said.