STRONG — The town will need an animal control officer in September, and selectmen have started the search for a qualified candidate.

Animal Control Officer Ann Dunne is resigning from her position, effective Aug. 31.

Selectmen reviewed their options Tuesday to determine if they face any issues in securing a suitable replacement.

Dunne’s replacement would sign an annual contract and be responsible for standard animal control duties 24 hours a day, seven days a week. An animal control officer must be certified and be able to handle a firearm.

Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols had proposed during the past year that local towns should consider paying for a single animal control officer who would be an employee of the Sheriff’s Office. A deputy would be hired for the 20-hour-per-week position, and towns would pay approximately what they were currently paying for their own animal control officer.

Although a few towns expressed an interest in Nichols’ plan, county commissioners disagreed and the proposal was dropped.

Selectman Mike Pond asked if there were any laws against selectmen filling in and covering animal control duties if they did not hire a suitable candidate by Sept. 1.

Selectman Dick Worthley suggested that he, an occasional substitute when Dunne was not available, objected to that option.

“For us to fill in with no knowledge, no equipment, and no training, I don’t believe that’s legal,” he said.

Pond said he didn’t perceive a problem with selectmen performing animal control duties temporarily, if needed.

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