Spotlight on Johnston County Animal Services

Ernie-Wilkerson-FIBy Laura Crosio

Last year, the Johnston County Animal Services department impounded 4,437 animals, including 2,400 feral cats.

Director Ernie Wilkinson shared his department’s statistics in a presentation to Johnston County Commissioners as a part of a monthly program to highlight a county department.

He said he has seen the department come a long way since assuming this role a decade ago and they still have more to do to care for and protect the animal population in Johnston County.

Wilkinson said they have decreased the number of impound figures in the last four years. Back then, they took possession of over 9,000 animals each year. Thanks to a strong community education component and a population control program, they have reduced that number by half. In 2014, county Animal Services spayed and neutered over 1,700 animals.

“It’s fun to get up in the morning and go to work,” said Wilkinson. “It’s fun to work with the people of Johnston County. We want to make the animal culture better in Johnston County.”

The department is located at 1320 N Brightleaf Blvd, Smithfield and operates Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are eight full time and two part-time staff members. The office fields approximately 200 calls per day with four field officers running 18-25 calls each day. Wilkinson estimates 70% of those visits are leash law violations.

An Open House will be held at Johnston County Animal Services on Saturday, September 12th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for members of the public to tour their facilities and bring their pets for rabies shots and micro-chipping. “It’s a day we open our doors to the people we serve,” Wilkinson said.