2010-05-06 / Letters to the Editor

‘Perhaps I have not followed the rules’

For several weeks now, I have read letters to the editor, heard comments at the coffee shops and found myself in a fish bowl on a daily basis. I steer clear of McQuade’s Market for fear of a debate in the frozen food aisle. I have received letters of encouragement, calls of support and comfort food to help me through the public scrutiny. My family has been questioned at great length – especially my 11-year-old boys – about what their mother will do after she loses her job.

All that being said, I have stopped short of writing to the newspaper, much to the dismay of the many animal supporters. So, without pressure, but with great offense, I will now try to respond to Mr. Schnack’s “Viewpoint” with all the professionalism and grace I can muster.

Dear Mr. Schnack: I am offended that you, as Town Council president, have written a very lengthy “Viewpoint” in the Jamestown Press, yet you have never once spoken with me personally or professionally. You have taken facts and figures, much of which I know to be distorted or inaccurate, and regurgitated them.

Not once have you asked to speak with me about what role I believe I have as a town employee or a town resident. You have never once asked if I felt that my position with the town could warrant changes that may help better serve the people and animals of this town. Not once have you asked me about my concerns, responsibilities, duties, ideas for ordinance reform, leash law reform, rabies protocol, licensing, roadkill, DEM or wildlife management. Never have I been asked to be a part of the emergency management team headed by Chief Tighe to handle animal control during a disaster.

I’ve never been asked about trapping, transporting, census, the rabies clinic, monthly state reports, animals on private property issues, the ACO budget, horses, pigs, bats, rats or fisher cats. Yet you have taken a half-page to describe me in great detail and the “duties” I perform for the town, at a perceived great cost to taxpayers.

Thank you for outlining my duties as the ordinances describe. Also, for referring to the limited selections of calls that make it appear that I get all these odd jobs accomplished in only a few hours each month, which I have been dispatched to handle, still allotting enough time to “midwife cats.”

Eleven years ago, I was advised by Chief Tighe that this position would no longer be that of a “dog catcher,” but one of “animal control officer,” encompassing wild and domestic animal situations and a great deal of time just on patrol, with people knocking on my front door and calling at all hours of the day and night, as part of my job.

Well, you are correct. Perhaps I have not followed the rules. Perhaps “that’s not my job” never occurred to me as an answer to be given when a resident called for help. Perhaps I should have said, “No, that’s not in my job description” or “I’m not on duty.”

I appreciate the enlightenment, but no thanks. I believe people in Jamestown prefer things just the way they are.

And if you locate the other half of my $75,000 salary, I’ll buy lunch and maybe then we could just sit and talk.
Catherine A. Gregory

Return to top