Tuesday, December 20, 2011


An October 8th blog went into some detail about problems which are said to persist at the Stark County Dog Pound (SCDP - Pound) (CLICK HERE for a refresher).

Going on nearly three months later and very little, if anything, has been done to solve the seemingly eternal problems in the operation of the SCDP.

Well, if you believe an e-mail that the SCPR received yesterday from a member of the Stark County Dog Pound Advisory Board (SCDPAB), that is the state of affairs is in these days.

The commissioners have space on Monday and Tuesday of each week to schedule work sessions to work out problems such as those said to exist in the e-mail.  That is precisely what The Report thinks the commissioners should do.  They need to bring in Dog Pound Warden Reagan Tetreault, SCDPAB members and interested Stark County citizens as a forum in which to lay out the problems that all agree exist and to establish an agreed plan of action to resolve the agreed to list of items to be remedied.

Or, alternatively, perhaps the commissioners should piggyback on a look see initiative by SCDPAB members on the viability of privatization of the Pound.

In yesterday's e-mail, the following additional (in addition to those recited in the October 8th blog) allegations are made:
  • A worker, who,  apparently, had been on sick leave for some six weeks while working a similar job elsewhere and who avoided sanction because Warden Tetreault did not provide the employee with a "light duty" alternative.
  • Suspicions that Pound dogs were not properly fed over the Thanksgiving holiday period.
  • Some time in the fall of this year Warden Tetreault worked out a "trade" with the Stark County Humane Society of adoptable Pound dogs in exchange for Humane Society pit bulls which the writer of the e-mail says are not readily adoptable and therefore become prime candidates for euthanasia thereby creating conditions for enhanced euthanasia numbers at the Pound.
  • There is an atmosphere of "communication" distrust (the SCPR's interpretation) between Warden Tetreault and SCDPAB volunteers at the Pound.
  • A perceived Warden Tetreault inability to make timely decisions and overreliance on Stark County Chief Administrator Mike Hanke for decision making.
  • A belief that commissioners do not take the SCAB seriously (e.g. Commissioner Creighton has told a SCDPAB member that the Pound is a low priority for her) and has either directly or inadvertently communicated such to Warden Tetreault and that a "not take seriously" has taken hold on the SCDPAB/Tetreault interaction to the point that the Warden no longer attends SCDPAB meetings.
  • Although the SCDPAB raised $7,800.00 to replace an inadequate ventilation system, the commissioners seem to be dragging their feet in getting the ventilation system improved.
The SCPR has been covering the Stark County commissioners for several years now and one festering problem that neither former boards nor the current board have effectively dealt with is the longstanding and chronic complaints about the Stark County Dog Pound.

The Report did not expect much from the former boards.

However, yours truly does expect that the current board with its more citizen-friendly/responsive attitude will move to solve the pound's problem. 

And to be fair with respect to Commissioner Creighton's purported statement, if she made it, The Report has to believe it was made in the context of dealing with county budgetary matters and getting the November sales tax passed.

As The Report has written frequently since Commissioners Bernabei and Creighton came on board in November, 2010 and January, 2011 respectively; the current Stark County Board of Commissioners is vastly improved over recent boards.

But it is not perfect and one aspect of its imperfection seems to be centered on a lack of resolve to solve the persistent problems of the Pound.

Again, the SCPR calls on the commissioners to schedule a public work session(s) sooner than later and work with the SCDPAB to get to an agreed bottom line definition of the problems and develop a plan of action to remedy the inadequacies in the context of a defined timeline.

Alternatively, the commissioners may wish to get out of the dog pound business.

Because of their dissatisfaction with the way Stark County oversees the operation of the Pound, members of the SCDPAB are looking into privatizing the county's dog pound operations.  Perhaps the commissioners should jump onboard and join in on the inquiry.

The SCPR's historical take on the Stark' commissioners' oversight of the Pound is that it has been "a pain in the neck" and it is a function in terms of the commissioners wholeheartedly embracing it and finding lasting solutions to its problems they would rather not be into.

As it is, the SCDP is not a general fund department of county government, it is rather an enterprise fund type operation supported by various licensing and services fees it charges users.

So if having a county dog pound and seeing to it that it is run properly is a bother to the commissioners, then should it not be full bore ahead with privatization?

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