It’s been almost 5 weeks since Stamford’s Animal Control Center has been under investigation. According to the Stamford Police Department, the shelter has allegedly failed to follow State procedures for the adoption of potentially aggressive dogs. The investigation has limited the shelter’s services, leaving some residents concerned.
“We met with the mayor and Ted Jankowki, the Department of Health and Safety Director and we were told that during the investigation, volunteers would not be allowed at the shelter.” said Ali Girardi, President of Outreach to Pets in Need, a volunteer non-profit that works with the shelter’s animals.
On Monday, Girardi was joined by a group of residents at the “Mayor’s Night In” meeting, to voice concerns about the current treatment of the animals.
“While the volunteers are there, the dogs are nurtured, they are socialized, they receive a lot of TLC,” says Girardi. “So it’s great for the dogs because being in a shelter is a very lonely place to begin with,”
“The volunteers aren’t being allowed to walk the dogs and perhaps the dogs aren’t being allowed out of the kennels as often as they should be and that’s, for some dogs, creating additional stress,” says Stamford resident Elena Foley.
A dog named Tigger was the face of the group’s concerns Monday. Foley was interested in adopting Tigger prior to the investigation.
"We were out in a dog run with him for about 45 minutes chasing the ball,” says Foley. “He was very calm, he seemed like a very nice dog.”
The launch of the investigation stopped all adoptions and Foley had to resubmit her application for Tigger.
“At that point we were told that Tigger was not adoptable; that he was exhibiting aggressive behavior, and it was just a little bit disturbing that a dog that was so friendly just three weeks before is now unadoptable and that’s a concern - that the dogs aren’t getting the care and attention that they need,” says Foley.
But Mayor Martin and Director of Public Safety Ted Jankowski say they frequently visit the shelter and assured residents the animals are being properly cared for.
Residents also spoke up in defense of the Shelter’s director Laurie Hollywood, who has been on suspension since the investigation was launched.
“We have all witnessed this amazing woman running an animal shelter, caring about every single pet and person, and working so hard,” says Girardi.
Officials say dogs are being adopted out on a case-by-case basis and more information will be provided once the investigation is completed, which the Mayor expects to happen within the next two weeks.
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