Guests enjoyed a tour of the new County Environmental Services Building as part of an October 11, dedication and ribbon cutting. The facility, which is located at 200 County Camp Road, is home to the new animal shelter. Photo by Michaele Duke
Its taken years but the County finally has an Environmental Services facility they can be proud of. Williamsburg County Supervisor Stanley Pasley, speaking on behalf of Council and Staff welcomed attendants to the dedication. "This is a partnership that is so critically important to providing good public health and saftey to all of our citizens," said Pasley. Environmental Services includes animal control, litter control, vector control and mosquito control.
The $200,000 facility, located at 200 County Camp Road behind the recycling center, is a far cry from its dilapidated counterpart. Controversy surrounded the former facility and its staff when in June 2011, members of the now defunct WAS Board sued the County, alleging animal abuse and policy violations. Since then, a new board has been organized under the current designation "Environmental Services Board" and staff has undergone training and certification.
Board Chair Dr. Jay Chandler addressed the crowd. Where he was happy to see the new facility and the changes that have occurred, he emphasized that it is the citizen who is also responsible for the welfare of their animals. "The main focus of animal control although the building today and the employees today are getting the attention, lies in the hands of the citizens of Williamsburg County," said Chandler who is a Hemingway veterinarian. "Responsible pet ownership is something we all need to talk about and everyone involved, every person who has a pet has a responsibility to take care of that animal and make sure that animal does not become a part of the nuisance that is seen by many citizens." Chandler added that along with the new building would come encouragement "to make this animal control problem mush less severe than what we find it today."
The program included a separate, yet pertinent dedication. During early construction a citizen came forward with information that a gravesite was located within the vicinity. Years ago, a chain-gang camp was located on the property where the Williamsburg County Public Works building sits today and a prisoner cemetery is said to be within close proximity to the new building. Two grave markers were later discovered; one is marked with a man's name, however the other is marked with the name of a child.
In September, the Supervisor took steps to have a seismic study of the grounds. The area that showed anomalies was fenced in and a granite monument engraved with the words "Those who rest in unknown graves" was placed at the site. "We wanted to take time to acknowledge and give these who rest their proper acknowledgement and respect,” said Pasley.