Wednesday, February 29, 2012




UPDATE AT 5:00 P.M FEBRUARY 29, 2012

At the conclusion of today's regular weekly Wednesday meeting of Stark County commissioners, the SCPR put questions to the commissioners regarding the effect of the petitions calling for the firing of Stark County Dog Pound employee Phil Sedlacko on them.

As laid out in the original blog, the video of The Report's session with commissioners confirms yours truly's projection that the Sedlacko matter is over with in terms of the July 25, 2011 videotaped incident and that no further action will be taken against Sedlacko with regard to that incident.

In the video County Administrator Mike Hanke reviews with SCPR the nature of his visit to the Stark County Dog Pound (Pound) on last Friday (February 24th) and what recommendations came out of his observations of conditions at the Pound.


At about 4:15 p.m. on Monday, Michele Crawford (North Canton), Melanie Medure (Canton) and Mackenzie Smith (Canton) made their way to the second floor of the Stark County Office Building suite of the Stark County commissioners to present hard copy petitions (calling for the firing of Stark County Dog Pound employee Phil Sedlacko) with over 5200 signatures to commissioners.

However, with none of the commissioners present, the trio had to settle for County Administrator Mike Hanke as a person to present the petitions to.

Later on in the day, Ms. Smith took to the lectern at Canton City Council for remarks precedent to her presenting the same set of petitions to Canton City Council President Allen Schulman.   The following is a video the presentations.

No matter where one stands on the issue, one has to admire the civic action of Crawford, Medure and Smith as well as the over 5200 who weighed-in on the July 25, 2011 YouTube video which went viral purportedly showing Phil Sedlacko in his capacity as a county employee abusing a dog that he had apprehended.

Also to be commended are the Cantonians/Stark Countians and a few from Summit County who have been attending Canton City Council meetings and making arguments as to their take on Sedlacko video and for a change in Canton's animal control policy.

However, the SCPR believes that neither the commissioners nor the council will heed the plea that Sedlacko be fired nor that Canton will change its animal control policy.

Why not?  Isn't the video compelling evidence that Sedlacko belongs nowhere near animals in terms of official public employment?  And haven't the petitioners placed the effectiveness of current Canton animal control policy in question?

The Report's read is that the Stark County commissioners believe that the July 25th (2011) incident has already been dealt with by them in a disciplinary way and they are not about to reopen the matter, petitions or not.

As Commissioner Janet Creighton has put it, the county has higher priorities to deal with especially in light of having dealt not only with this matter but with other problems at the Stark County Dog Pound (SCDP - Pound) over the past year or so.  Moreover, they are aware that previous boards of commissioners (the last of which included current Commissioner Pete Ferguson) have spent considerable time dealing with the problems of the Pound.

As for Canton City Council, a large factor with them is that many of the councilpersons have constituents who praise Sedlacko and his work and demand that council not move to change a policy which would put the main object in terms of numbers of Sedlacko's work - feral cats - back in their neighborhoods once they have been trapped and neutered and likely inoculated against some diseases (TNR).  In addition to trying to persuade council to fire Sedlacko, many if not all of the petitioners advocate that Canton adopt TNR as its new policy.

Councilman Kevin Fisher (5th Ward) likely expresses the sentiment of a majority of council telling yours truly that once Canton gets a handle on its abandoned properties, its highest murder problem in years, its drug problem and its unemployment problem, then, and only then, will he take as a priority working on changing the way feral cats and other wild animals are handled in Canton.

Here is a video sampling of anti-TNR/pro-Sedlacko Cantonians who addressed council Monday night:

A major problem with the petitions as far as Canton City Council is concerned is that they have the signatures of people from all over the world.  In relative terms, not many are from Stark County, and, of course, there are still fewer from Canton proper.

There were speakers on the pro-TNR/anti-Sedlocko issues at council on Monday night.  Here is a video sampling of that side of the argument.

Perhaps the most persuasive person with Canton City Council at this week's meeting was Canton Health Commissioner James Adams.  He presented an argument to council that the risk of disease transmission from wild animals (he put special emphasis on cats) to humans is significant enough that Canton should not, in his opinion, adopt TNR as its policy in dealing with troublesome wildlife.

The Report believes that council - as far as most members are concerned - has not been convinced by the pro-TNR folks that implementing TNR would be a net gain for controlling feral cats within the city and that Adams was a compelling voice to them in that regard.

Here is a video of the main part of his presentation including his specific declaration that he is against TNR for Canton.

So has the petition effort and the city council Public Speaks appearances been "all for naught?"


While they are unlikely to achieve their primary objectives anytime soon, these folks undoubtedly have had an effect on the commissioners, Canton City Council, Mr. Sedlacko, in terms of how he does his job, and those working at and managing the Stark County Dog Pound.

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