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South Valley Journal

Herriman Police Department adds Animal Services unit

Jul 25, 2019 05:07PM ● By Justin Adams

Officers Debbie Pedersen and Charlotte Fenstermaker met residents and their animals during a July 1 event at city hall. (Courtesy of Herriman City)

By Justin Adams | [email protected]

Pet owners and animal lovers of Herriman can rest easier now that the city has its own Animal Services department.

Previously, city leaders contracted with Salt Lake County for animal services, but rising costs prompted them to look in another direction.

“Salt Lake County charges a fee based on population,” said Police Chief Troy Carr, whose department houses the Animal Services unit. “As our population estimate was adjusted, we went to $330,000 last year and would have risen to $380,000 next year.”

Looking at those numbers, city finance staff members realized they could create their own animal services unit for the same cost. 

The decision wasn’t purely financial though. Carr said it also came from a desire to offer better service to residents. Under the county contract, animal control officers only came to the city to respond to calls. Recovered animals would be kept at the County’s Animal Services headquarters in Millcreek, an inconvenient drive for Herriman residents. 

Now, Herriman’s new animal services officers will be regularly patrolling the city’s parks and recovered animals will be kept at a South Jordan City facility as part of an interlocal agreement between the two cities. 

The city’s first animal services officers, Debbie Pedersen and Charlotte Fenstermaker, have held similar positions in nearby cities and boast more than 24 years of combined experience in municipal animal services. “They’re animal service experts and professionals,” said Carr. 

The duo has already had an eventful first few weeks on the job. In just their first couple days, they were called on to rescue some baby ducks that had fallen into a storm drain. Fenstermaker leveraged her relationship with other city employees (she previously worked for the Herriman Parks and Recreation department) to recruit extra help. Thanks to Pedersen’s network of animal resources, they were able to find a new home for the ducklings within an hour of their rescue. 

The rescue was also a community event, with nearby residents coming out to offer their help or document the proceedings on their smartphones. That aspect of getting the community involved is a big part of the plan for the new unit.

“There’s an innate love for animals that most people have,” said Carr. “In nine years of being on the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit, people were more willing to buy a vest for my dog than for me.”

Some of the community-focused events that will be coming down the road include adoption drives at city hall and educational nights on things such as vaccinations or pet licensing. 

Pet licensing is especially important, according to Carr, because it helps the city have a better idea of how many pets there are in the city and how city leaders can best support pet-owners.   

“Do we need dog parks? Do we need more enforcement on our trails? How much animal waste is going into storm drains?” he asked. 

For more information about Herriman City’s newest department, visit  www.herriman.org/police/animal-services