New Animal Control Officer Hopes To Make A Difference

(Right to left) Smithfield Police Chief Keith Powell stands with newly hired Animal Control Officer Jessica Phelps. The Animal Control officer is now under the Smithfield Police Department. Photo

The Smithfield Police Department has hired a new animal control officer. Jessica L. Phelps was hired recently to replace Lyn Corbin who retired on December 31st.

Phelps was selected out of a field of five applicants for the position, according to Police Chief Keith Powell.

Phelps graduated in 2011 from West Johnston High School near Benson. She has lived in the Four Oaks area with her family since the age of five.

She spent the last six years working in a pharmacy but said animals have always been her passion.  “I love animals. They have always been part of my life.”

She is excited about being able to help Smithfield residents and the animals in town.  “I love my job and being able to help animals and help the community.”

Phelps said animal cruelty cases and seeing animals in despair have been the most challenging. But she says she takes enjoyment out of making sure pets – large and small – are safe and healthy. She told WTSB News she hopes to make a positive difference in the community.

“We are pleased to have her,” Chief Powell said Wednesday.  “So far, she is doing a great job.”

Previously, the animal control position was only part-time with the former officer splitting his time between animal control and public works. Effective Jan. 1st the position is full time. And at the request of Town Manager Michael Scott it is under the police department and no longer a division of public works.

Smithfield residents wishing to report any animal control concerns or complaints can contact Phelps the Smithfield Police Department at 919-934-2121.

While not on duty, Phelps says she is busy taking care of her three dogs – Bruce, Harley and Reba – and her three cats – Bagereah, Nova and Ginger.