West Tisbury selectmen heard from five finalists in the running for town animal control officer at their meeting last Wednesday.

Beloved longtime animal control officer Joan Jenkinson retired at the beginning of October. Twelve people applied to be her replacement, with five making it to the interview stage.

At the meeting last week candidate Simon Bollin, Tony Cordray Prudence Fisher, Janice Haynes, and Jennifer Morgan responded to questions about scenarios they might face as animal control officer and why they wished to take the job.

The new animal control officer will have big shoes to fill. The selectmen recalled the level of service Mrs. Jenkinson provided to the town as well as her familiarity with residents and their animals.

“We thought it important, and chose candidates to interview accordingly, that whoever replaces her does to the maximum extent possible what she’s done for the town,” selectman Cynthia Mitchell said.

Four of the applicants had strong ties to West Tisbury, while another had experience as an animal control officer.

Simon Bollin, the Aquinnah fire chief, tri-town ambulance member and West Tisbury resident, said he is looking for a long term job in town. He’s always liked animals and has a mix of livestock and family pets, he said.

“This job is a lot of community outreach. It’s a lot more than just being the animal control officer,” Mr. Bollin said. “It’s knowing the people and knowing situations that it’s going to take to fix things.” He said he would “try to take care of stuff before it happens, instead of making it a huge deal after it happens.”

Prudence Fisher, a Dukes County communications center employee and West Tisbury resident, grew up working with animals on Nip and Tuck farm.

“I’ve always had that love and connection for animals. I’d like to help our community through this as well,” she said. “I like the animals, I always have, so this way I can still help our community, but doing something I’ve always loved.”

Tony Cordray is a West Tisbury resident and lieutenant on the West Tisbury fire department. He said he has a lot of experience with animals, especially horses.

“I want to help keep West Tisbury within the tradition of its openness and friendliness, which is near and dear to my heart,” Mr. Cordray said.

Janice Haynes, also a West Tisbury resident, said she has been around animals her whole life.

“I know the town, I know the people, and I know how things work around here,” she said. “It’s something that speaks to me, just to be able to take care of the animals and work outdoors and that sort of thing.”

She added: “My husband is the tree warden, so we joke that it would be flora and fauna.”

Jennifer Morgan who lives on Chappaquiddick, has been working in animal control since 2004 and worked for the MSPCA. She is the assistant Edgartown animal control officer as well as the cemetery superintendent in Edgartown and Chilmark.

“My formal training and experience and passion is in animal care and control, animal shelter and animal rescue,” she said. “Dealing with the animals in the job for the shelter and in animal control for the most part is easier than dealing with the people, so learning how to productively and positively deal with the people has been a very important part of the training in both of those positions.”

The selectmen plan to deliberate and vote on the candidates at their meeting this week.