On September 26, 2017, Animal Control Officer, Colleen Jenkins, was violently attacked by a Pit Bull and as a result of her injuries she was placed on administrative leave.
The position of animal control stayed open for 12 weeks according to Phyllis Long, Simpsonville HR director. On January 1, 2018, Jenkins was notified that she was terminated from her position with the city. According to Long she would still receive her disability payments but her position would not be held past the 12 weeks.
Tiffany Dye, a four-year employee with the police department was hired recently to assume the position of animal control officer. Dye does not live in the city limits of Simpsonville and that is not a requirement for the job according to city codes and ordinances.
In a social media post, Dye said she was a very good friend of Colleen’s and felt that she will never fill her shoes but will try to do her very best.
The incident that caused this attack happened at approximately 12 o’clock on September 26, 2017. According to the incident report. Officer J. Smith was patrolling the area near Walmart in reference to a suspicious vehicle. While patrolling the area he noticed a vehicle that appeared to be abandoned. A black Honda Accord, paper placard for license plate and the back seat piled up to the rooftop. He also noticed that there was a large Pit bull in the front seat and several small dogs inside a dog crate in the rear seat. He then notified dispatch to have animal control enroute to the location. Once Officer Jenkins arrived on scene, the female driving the car was asked to secure the dogs. Having been given permission to look inside of the vehicle, Jenkins noticed that the large dog had a logging chain being used for a leash. The dog exited the vehicle with the driver having control of the dog while Officer Smith was writing down the VIN number. All of a sudden the dog broke loose and darted straight toward Officer Jenkins, who was standing near the back passenger side corner of the vehicle. The dog lunged at Officer Jenkins and his jaws locked onto her arm and took her to the ground. It was then that officer Smith un-holstered his duty weapon and discharged one round into the dog and put him down. Jenkins was laying face down when EMS arrived and she was treated for large bites on her arm and her leg.
The trauma and injuries sustained by Officer Jenkins placed her on disability leave from her job.
Less than a month before this incident it was determined by city administrator that Officer Jenkins should not be carrying her issued weapon while patrolling. Although she is a certified class III police officer, it was determined that because her duties were being shared as the code enforcement officer, she should not carry a weapon since code enforcement officers were not permitted to carry. Even though all animal control officers are armed the decision to take her weapon away may have put her in harm’s way. It’s ironic that the incident occurred less than a month after taking her weapon.
The new animal control officer, Tiffany dye has qualified to carry and is now performing her duties with her issued duty weapon.
The above information was garnered from a Freedom of Information request fulfilled by the police department. The facts read for themselves but we have to ask:
“Why our Animal Control Officer, who served the City as a Class 3 Police Officer, was not wearing a gun?” Seems since the City doubled up her job to Codes Enforcement and Animal Control she was no longer allowed to carry. Why didn’t someone know about this before making her Codes Enforcement?
Now, the job has been split up and we have two employees to fill the positions. This should have happened from the beginning. It did not happen and now Colleen is without a job and the animals and their advocates have lost an officer with a lot of knowledge. ♦