Friday, October 22, 2010


Dissatisfaction with the way the Stark County Dog Pound operates surfaced anew at the commissioners' meeting of October 20th (last Wednesday).

The commissioners collective stomachs had to be turning as the listened.

An upset Stark County Couple showed up at the commissioners' weekly meeting to complain about their seven year old dog apparently being accidentally euthanized by a Stark County Dog Pound (SCDP) employee after only being missing for 14 hours.

Ohio law mandates that at least 72 hours must pass before a dog can be euthanized,

Commissioners thought they had fixed the Dog Pound problem back in the late spring/early summer when they fired former warden Evert Gibson and hired Regan Tetreault in July.  Tetreault was an experienced warden from a nearby county.

Last night a number of Stark County citizens showed up at the regular monthly meeting of the Stark County Dog Pound Advisory Board (SCDPAB) meeting at the North branch of the Stark County District Library located on 25th Street in Canton to complain about the quality of operations at the SCDP.

Some of the citizens were pointing the finger at Tetreault as showing she has been unable to gain control of the unionized staff at the Pound.  Others were more tolerant and asked that she be given more time to get what many describe as being irascible unionists under control in terms of being more "public" friendly and more "volunteer" friendly.

Included in the group of citizens were a couple who told the SCDPAB that their two year old dog, which was properly and lawfully housed, secured and maintained by them, was attacked and mauled by a neighbor's two pit bull dogs that they allege were not properly registered, secured and insured (a requirement of law for pit bulls),   The couple described how devastated and horrified they and their children were over the mauling of the family dog and blamed SCDP's bungled handling of the pit bulls as the reason why their dog is now dead.

Tetreault was at the SCDPAB meeting to answer questions.  She also was present at Wednesday's commissioners' meeting to answer questions on the Greathouse matter.

Only on September 24th did she pass her probationary employment date.  The SCPR asked commissioners at their September 22nd meeting whether or not she was going to pass her probation status.  They all indicated that all was well and that she would no longer be a probationary employee after the 24th.

One has to wonder in light of recent developments whether or not the commissioners are finely tuned enough to the goings on at the SCDP?

An even deeper question is what commissioners and their chief administrator are doing to get the union under control?   It appears to the SCPR that the union workers are in control and the warden and commissioners are taking orders from the organized workers.

The SCPR is sympathetic to organized labor, but only when they operate with flexibility and common sense. Organized labor can be effective to provide its membership with living wages and the dignity that the everyday laboring force should have.

However, unions can be enablers of an attitude of "go _ _ _ _ yourself."  If that is what unionization brings, then it is not a good thing.

It does not appear that the Dog Pound unionized staff fill The Report's bill of having flexibility and common sense.

If the union at the SCDP is out-of-control vis-a-vis management, then the commissioners will find that they will have a parade of dog wardens as long they do not effectively deal with the underlying problem.

But do they have the "political guts" to do it?

All three commissioners are Democrats who heavily rely on union contributions in their election campaigns.  In fact, Commissioner Bosley just filed a campaign finance report on Wednesday showing that unions have provided him with tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions in his quest to be the state representative for Stark County's 50th congressional district.

 The SCPR will be tracking commissioners and pushing them to have a public meeting with union leaders so that the public can be clear that the union will take a hand in reordering its Dog Pound members.

If this cannot be achieve soon, then the county should get out of the dog pound business and look to contract with a "for profit" owner/operator.


SCDP personnel had cited the owner of the pit bulls for the failure to register, to insure and secure the two pit bulls, but when the owner failed to cure the citation, the SCDP failed to follow up with any kind of enforcement action against the owner.  Accordingly, the couple-owners of the mauled dog (which had to be put down) lay the blame for their loss at the doorstep of the SCDP.

From the recounting of the dog mauling, many of those in attendance at the SCDPAB meeting went on to criticize Tetreault for her apparent inability to deal with SCDP's unionized personnel.  They cited the rudeness of SCDP employees to the general public, the employees unacceptable handling methods of dogs, and other attitude deficiencies among their bevy of complaints.

In the end, some of those assembled were talking about privatizing the dog pound. 

What will the Stark County commissioners (all of whom are Democrats heavily dependent on union support) think of the privatization talk?

Should be a very interesting meeting next week with the Stark County commissioners, no?

No comments: