As the new year begins, Chattooga County has a new Sheriff and a new County Commissioner and no Animal Control Officer.

That’s because former Chattooga County Animal Control officer Joe Johnston resigned affective midnight last night.  Johnston said in his resignation letter that he felt incoming County Commissioner Jason Winters had created a "hostile" work environment that Johnston would not be able to work in.

The work environment issue centered around employees at Animal Control.  Winters told AM 1180 Chattooga Radio News that he was unaware of Johnston’s decision to resign from the post until he saw it in yesterday’s edition of the local paper.  Winters said that Johnston had told him that he was taking off to go hunting at the end of the year and that nothing was mentioned about Johnston resigning.

Winters was meeting with Chattooga County Public Works director Lamar Canada yesterday afternoon to go over options for the county regarding animal control.  Under former County Commissioner Mike Dawson’s administration the animal control officer was a contracted position.