Saturday, October 8, 2011


The SCPR has learned that the Stark County commissioners are not especially fond of The Report's focus on their, once and for all, getting a handle on the manifold problems that seemingly continue to plague the operation of the Stark County Dog Pound ("Pound," - SCDP).

The SCPR has been the main media outlet over the past couple of years that has been needling the commissioners (the current and past boards) about their seeming inability going back, perhaps, as far as ten years to shape up Pound functioning.

Apparently, the current commissioners get upset that Stark County's dog lovers come to The Report with their frustrations about perceived deficiencies in the operations at the Pound.

Understandably, the new members of the current Stark County Board of County Commissioners ("Board"), appear to think they have been dealt a bad hand on the matter of Pound operations by the immediately preceding Board (Bosley, Meeks and Ferguson).

However, Commissioners Bernabei and Creighton have now been commissioners for the better part of a full year and it is time for them to start owning up to their share of not yet resolving Pound personnel problems which seem to be the main gripe of Pound operation critics.

Commissioners Bernabei and Creighton made a great fanfare about a new day dawning in how commissioners - present, going forward - interact with the public and the press on accessibility, accountability, transparency and community outreach.

While the SCPR believes that the new Board is a considerable improvement over the Bosley-led Board, The Report is curious why the commissioners want to discourage public dialogue on the pace of their progress on reforming Pound operations.

The Report is getting the growing impression that much of what commissioners say about heightened transparency may be more rhetoric than reality.

The Report last published on the Pound problems on September 1st.  CLICK HERE to link up with that blog.

As the SCPR is prone to do, once an issue in presented - no matter what Stark County government entity is involved - is to check back with sources who have been critical to get an assessment of whether or not satisfactory problem resolution is or has occurred.


On Dog Pound operations, it appears that there is substantial continuing dissatisfaction, to wit:
  • an overall assessment that Dog Warden Reagan Tetreault "is in over her head,"
  • Because of criticism of Tetreault, Stark County Chief Administration has taken to micro-managing (The Report's interpretation) Pound operations,
  • It is "hit and miss" as to whether or not dog cages get cleaned depending on which Pound employee has the responsibility at any given time notwithstanding Warden's September 23rd directive that the cages be cleaned each and every day,
  • a continuing phenomenon whereby Pound volunteers are providing extra food,
  • while Warden Tetreault has issued a volunteers manual, she apparently did so with an attitude (i.e. because she was "tired of hearing about it."),
  • a continuing situation whereby capital (e.g. buying a new washer, dryer, and dishwasher at the cost of about $1,000) and supply purchases are made by Pound volunteers because, if they did not do so, needs would go unmet, and
  • inadequate and inconsistent administrative processing dogs taken into the Pound resulting in dogs not being adopted and ending up being euthanized because of the Pound having more dogs than cages.
Critics do cite improvements such as dog food bowls being dumped every night so as to eliminate a mouse infestation problem.   However, the Stark County (Canton) Health Department is credited with the improvement on the basis of the filing of a complaint by Stark County Dog Pound Advisory President Nanci Miller back in July of this year.


While it is agreed by various critics of the Pound operations that there is too much euthanization going on, there is disagreement as to whether or not Pound management (and ultimately the commissioners) is to blame for not developing strategies (e.g. an aggressive adoption program, et cetera) to cut down on the phenomenon or that the excess is owing to other factors such as citizens having to abandon their dogs because of the down economy and the Pound simply not having the capacity to deal with the increased number of dogs and which is not amenable to a solution other than stepped-up euthanization.

As far as the Stark County Political Report is concerned, Stark County's citizens should take the attitude that "the jury is still out" as to whether or not the current Board is "really" improved over past Boards in terms of accessibility, accountability, transparency and community engagement with the focus being on accountability and transparency.

When The Report hears that a certain commissioner does not want to be blindsided with SCPR blogs (generated because dog loving citizens come to The Report for redress of their grievances) about unresolved complaints about long overdue deficiencies at the Pound, then all the talk about accountability and transparency takes on more and more of a hollow ring.

Stark County citizens should be concerned that such is a "shooting the messenger-esque" reaction and, that despite all the talk to the contrary, that, perhaps, the commissioners really do not want to hear critical input from the citizens of Stark County.

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