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ACC hires director for new Animal Services Department

Athens-Clarke County Manager Blaine Williams on Friday announced the hiring of Kristall Barber as director of the recently created Animal Services Department.

Barber, who begins her new job on March 2, previously served with the Animal Control Section of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Florida since 2006. Polk County Animal Control serves a county of over 2,000 square miles with a population of more than 600,000 people.  “Kristall has a wide variety of experience in both field services and animal shelter operations that will be extremely valuable to Animal Services,” Williams said.

“Not only is she knowledgeable about operations and services, she is also passionate about animals, Williams said. “I believe that Kristall will help continue the good work our staff and partners have done of late to transform our Animal Services Department into a model for others.  Along with staff, she will further the department’s strategic plan working closely with our valued community stakeholders.” Barber held positions in Polk County Animal Control as enforcement officer investigator, supervisor of the Customer Service Unit, and administrator of the Animal Control Section. Since 2015 as administrator, she was been responsible for the day-to-day operations of Polk County Animal Control and its 66 employees, 10 inmates, numerous volunteers, and approximately 18,000 animals annually.  “I am extremely excited about the opportunity to lead the Athens-Clarke County Animal Services Department,” Barber said. “I can’t wait to get started and become part of such a family-oriented community with such love for their four-legged friends.” Selah Gardiner has served as the Interim Director since the new Animal Services Department was created in October 2019 from the previous Animal Control Division of the Central Services Department. Gardiner will remain with the department and return to her previous Volunteer Coordinator position, which was recently made full-time. “We all owe Selah a debt of gratitude for overseeing the transition of Animal Services from a division to a department, working closely with staff to rectify many of the challenges, and working hand in hand with our partner agencies in developing the strategic plan led by Assistant County Manager Josh Edwards,” Williams Said. “She will continue to be a valuable force for good in the department in her role working with volunteers and moving the department forward.” Prior to her time with Polk County Animal Control, Barber worked as a technician and receptionist in a veterinary hospital in Ohio. She has an Associate of Arts, a Bachelor of Applied Science, and a Medical Coding Certificate from Polk State College, is a Certified Public Manager through Florida State University, and earned a Master of Science in Management in 2019 from Warner University. The Animal Services Department includes 12 full-time positions and five part-time positions. The department includes animal shelter services, as well as animal control field services to protect the public safety and health from at-large and dangerous animals and protect animals from inhumane treatment. The department staff includes an Animal Shelter Supervisor and a Field Services Supervisor. For more information on the Animal Services Department, visit or call 706-613-3540.

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