Casper has transferred Metro Animal Control to the city's Community Development Department, city officials said Tuesday.

"Effective today, Metro will not be a part of the Police Department, but will be moved to Community Development," councilwoman Kenyne Schlager said at the City Council meeting.

"It will be transition from Metro to something called Animal Services where the focus will evolve a little bit into how can we best help the animals," Schlager said.

The change came partly as a result of several area residents -- Metro is a city office but it operates throughout Natrona County -- complaining about the shabby treatment they and their pets have received.

Last month, Arlona Rose spoke to the council about what happened with a friend's male Rottweiler, "Domino," that bit a person.

However, Fleur Tremel of the city manager's office said Thursday the bites were serious.

Rose said after the incident was reported, the Metro administrator was rude and dismissive, the staff took the dog, euthanized it and sent it to the landfill without notifying the family.

"He wasn't just a dog, he was family," she said. "He was thrown in the dump like somebody's trash. I don't want Domino's death to be in vain."

Schlager heard Rose and others, and said the city's approach will be more pet friendly. "I wanted you to know that we're making some progress."

After the meeting, City Manager John Patterson said the cities he's managed before Casper said the equivalent of Metro has been in a code enforcement or community development departments and not police departments..

"It puts the emphasis more on compliance than enforcement," Patterson said.

"So we're going to change the name of it from animal control to animal services, to point out that we're here to help our community that has animals and not punishment them for having animals," he said.

The community probably will see the most immediate change with increased staffing, and more hours, Patterson said.

The move to community development means employees -- even kennel techs -- will no longer go through the laborious police hiring process, he said. "With this change will come a more liberalized hiring process."

Metro has been functioning with only four employees when it is supposed to have 12, which has lead to reduced and inconsistent office hours, Patterson said. "One of the changes is we'll be able to get back to our regular hours once we are able to staff up."