George Harding, Lee’s Summit’s manager of animal control, resigned from the city this week to take a job leading the National Association of Animal Control.
The association, headquarted in Olathe, provides training for animal control professionals and promotes animal welfare, Harding said.
He started his new job as executive director Tuesday, June 4.
Harding moved to Lee’s Summit when he was 5 years old and started working for the parks department in 1987, when he was in high school, and continued through college, as he studied conservation enforcement.
In 1994 he joined the Police Department as an animal control officer. He was promoted to the position of Animal Control Supervisor in September of 1996 and then promoted to the position of Animal Control Manager in July 2011.
His training with wildlife came in handy.
Harding said once he recaptured a 13-foot boa constrictor that escaped from its owner, recovering it behind Bernard Campbell Middle School and on another occasion caught a 3-foot alligator in a pond at Lakewood.
“We don’t know where the alligator came from,” Harding said. He found an alligator rescue group to take the animal. Dangerous snakes and alligators are prohibited in Lee’s Summit, he said.
He said other memorable events included an 18-month period when the city was working on its dangerous dog ordinance, at a time when ownership of pit bulls was a hot issue and an anti-tethering ordinance.
Harding said a major project he contributed to was building of a new animal control facility.
The old shelter located off Tudor Road was overcrowded and sometimes flooded. Voters approved a bond issue for a new shelter in 2002 and it opened in 2008 at 1991 S. Hamblen Road.