A group of county and military leaders gathered at the Hunter Club Jan. 9 to formally enter into Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield's first intergovernmental support agreement.
Garrison Commander Col. Bryan Logan welcomed Chatham County officials, including County Commission Chairman Al Scott and Animal Services Director Dr. Jake Harper, to Hunter Army Airfield as the installation partnered with Chatham County's animal control services in a formal agreement, effective Jan. 1.
The IGSA benefits for Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield include timely response for loose animals; convenient return of lost animals to owners; stray animal population control; and Army compliance for animal control services. The support agreement is the culmination of solid ties between the county and the installation, Scott said.
"We are delighted to sign this agreement to provide animal services here," he said. "We've always had a good working relationship with the installation and now we'll have an even closer working relationship."
Hunter Army Airfield's emergency services will dispatch Chatham County animal services when required. The county will be compensated for its services with each dispatch and will follow local county policies upon gaining custody of the animal.
"Now we have a dedicated service control agent for our animals here on Hunter Army Airfield," Logan said.
Before the IGSA, the installation had only one animal control officer based at Fort Stewart. That officer was dispatched to Hunter for animal control incidents, but only after law enforcement or physical security gained control of the animal, Logan said. Now, animal services are rapidly available and free installation personnel to focus on their duties, Logan said.
"That primary security guard or law enforcement individual can really focus on their primary job here maintaining physical security for the installation and not have to worry about animal service control," he said.
Including the IGSA between Hunter and Chatham County, there are approximately 40 IGSAs in effect Army-wide. Fort Stewart leadership is working to complete other IGSAs with community partners in the near future, Logan said.
"I think it's a first step in building on the already great foundation and relationship we already have with our communities," he said.
Editor's note: Christopher Fletcher, Fort Stewart Public Affairs, contributed to this report.