Another Mayor’s Night In event brought Stamford residents to David Martin’s office Tuesday to share their concerns with the City’s top executive. But the hot topic of the evening was the future of the City’s animal shelter, with more than 20 residents and shelter volunteers showing up to speak on it.
The termination of the City’s former shelter director, who was allegedly adopting out aggressive dogs, has volunteers worried the facility will be turned into a kill shelter. They say the former director was responsible for significantly increasing the adoption rate.
“She was always above 90%,” says Ali Girardi, President of Outreach to Pets in Need. “The majority of her years, she was above 95%, which is no-kill strategy.”
The volunteers have been circulating a petition promoting a no kill facility to the city’s Animal Control Center Task Force. Mayor Martin and task force members say a kill shelter was never the intent.
“I’m very much in favor of the spirit of the no-kill policies and in fact, if they presented me with the petition, I would have signed it too,” says the Mayor. “I would like for the dogs and cats that are brought into the Center, or that we must pick up; that if they are adoptable, I would like to see us to be able to adopt as many of those as possible.”
But the Mayor says it’s important to consider all things, including public safety.
“I’m looking for something that we in this community will be proud of that will provide good care for animals and adopt them out, but will also not endanger the public with potentially unsafe animals that are being given to individuals,” the Mayor says.
Still, the volunteers have doubts.
“We didn’t really get direction any which way,” says Girardi. “A lot of it he did manage to state that finances would dictate that or could dictate that.”
Volunteers also expressed concern about the 7-member Task Force. Mayor Martin says he purposely excluded anyone directly connected to the shelter, including employees and volunteers. Girardi says that’s a mistake.
“It’s basically taking a group of seven people that are working very hard and - no fault of their own - they are clueless to the dynamics, the everyday shelter operations,” she says.
“I wanted a truly independent group who could objectively sit back and figure out what the best answer was, which has its pluses and it has its minuses,” says Mayor Martin.
Stay with It’s Relevant for more on this story.