Saturday, February 18, 2012



The SCPR has obtained a copy of an e-mail sent out at the initiative of  Assistant Majority Leader (Democrats) Patrick Barton to members of Canton City Council detailing the serious and in depth consideration that Barton (7th Ward) as head of council's Personnel Committee is according to the question of whether or not Canton will continue long term with it current model of animal control that, apparently, current Animal Control Officer Phil Sedlacko (via contract; he is also and employee of the Stark County Dog Pound) is comfortable with.

Agitation for a change in Canton's model for animal control is being promoted by some Cantonians including a number of councilpersons (Councilwoman Cirelli, for one) to one that is called "trap-neuter-return."  There is citizen support to retain the current model.

The SCPR applauds Councilman Barton for the even handed way he is handling this matter.

The e-mail:

A biography of Councilman Barton from Canton City Council's webepage:

Instead of wasting taxpayers’ money on hiring Stark County deputy dog warden Philip Sedlacko (“Canton hires animal control officer for 90 days,” Feb. 7), who apparently knows only how to catch and kill feral cats and other wildlife, hire a knowledgeable person who is armed with alternative methods for dealing with nuisance wildlife and is already practicing TNR, a proven effective and accepted method that many folks and rescuers already practice.
(Excerpt, Hire animal control officer who practices trap-neuter-return, Letter to Editor, The Rep, Veronica Dickey, 02/16/2012)

It appears that Canton may be about to reconsider its contract with Phil Sedlacko as seems to be the clear implication of City Council President Alan Schulman's e-mail to city council members yesterday evening.

To repeat the email portion from the graphic intro above:

When council considered a 90 day hire of Animal Control Officer Phil Sedlacko
at its February 6th regular meeting, it appears to The Report that most members had not yet seen the now situated Sedlacko YouTube video.

But there were concerns (Councilpersons Morris and Cirelli).  The best that Sedlacko core supporters on council (Fisher, Hawk, Smith and West) and the Healy administration could get was a 90 day extension of the 12/31/2011 expired contract between Canton and Sedlacko; not the year to two years that the parties wanted notwithstanding that Sedlacko had submitted his resignation in what Councilwoman Cirelli termed to be the equivalent to putting a gun to the head of council.

No one was saying, but there is some speculation that Sedlacko is not enthusiastic about working a trap-neuter-return model and that his tendered resignation was more and expression of that attitude than trying to bully council.

The video was placed on YouTube by Nanci Miller who is a member and president of the Stark County Dog Pound Advisory Board (SCDPAB), a body instituted by Stark County commissioners to provide the Stark County commissioners with insight into the operations of the Stark County Dog Pound from a user and volunteer perspective.

Here is what Miller had to say about the video in the descriptive material she included with the video, to wit:
This is the beginning of security tape footage requested as a public record from the Stark County Dog Warden Department. Sad to say, after the abuse seen in the video, this dog who had been darted in an artery by Deputy Phil Sedlacko (the deputy in the video) who turned the high-powered hose on him), bled to death on the cold cement floor of the isolation room at the department. Several department employees went in to look at the dog, but no one seemed to find it necessary to take the dog to the vet where it could have been humanely euthanized. The dog's name was Garfield.
Also weighing in on the video is Channel 19 (WOIO)

Another member of the SCDPAB shared the following via email with the SCPR regarding Sedlacko's working both for the city of Canton and the Stark County Dog Pound, to wit:
There was  a hearing for Phil Sedlacko regarding his continuing to work for the city doing animal control while taking 6 weeks off from the pound due to stress.   It was pretty much all smoke and mirrors in that they wrote it up as if Reagan had discovered this going on when in fact it was the Advisory Board who brought it to Janet's [Stark County Commissioner Janet Creighton] attention.  She [Warden Tetreault] denied Phil was working for the city but finally admitted that he was. The the determination at the hearing was that since Reagan didn't give Phil the option of light duty he was not culpable
Now that the video referred to in the February 6th council deliberations on the contract is out in the public domain, it appears that two weeks later (council's February 27th meeting?) the debate may be on again as to whether or not Canton wishes to continue its contract with Sedlacko.

Could be that the February 21st council meeting will be a "replay plus" of the February 6th animal control controversy in the halls of Canton City Council?

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