The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

November 14, 2012

Environmental officers to stay with fire marshal

By Joseph Hamrick
Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — After hearing the cases presented by Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks and Hunt County Fire Marshal Richard Hill, the Hunt County Commissioners Court decided to keep the Environmental Enforcement officers under Hill’s control.

Meeks listed nine reasons why he believed the officers would be better suited under the sheriff’s department. The main point listed was to use the officers to deal with the animal control issue.

“What advantages are there to keep the officers unde the fire marshal?” He said. “I think they’ve got plenty of time to do other things.”

According to Larry Middlebrooks, Precinct 3 Hunt County Commission-er, the previous commissioners dealt with the animal control issue in 1997 with the adoption of chapter 822 of the Texas Health and Safety Code.

“It (chapter 822.001) shows the sheriff is responsible for the dogs already,” he said. “What I’m looking at it’s pretty plain that since we don’t have an office, the sheriff is in control.”

Hill said the officers have been doing a good job of enforcing the laws and keeping the property values up in Hunt County.

“This is not about money,” Hill said. “This is about keeping the property values up.”

Hill responded to Meeks, stating that the officers already work with the health department.

“We have worked with the health department on the West Nile and H1N1 viruses,” he said. “The health department is much much bigger than just dog bites.”