2010-05-27 / Letters to the Editor

ACO position needs to stay full time

It is sad to see the island split so angrily over the need for an animal control officer. As a result of assisting residents with their animals for over 11 years, I know as well as probably anyone how much this position needs to continue to be filled on a full-time basis.

It should not be the duty of the Jamestown Police Dept. to respond to animal control problems, such as the two pit bulls running loose in the Shores two weeks ago. Our officers are neither trained, nor are their vehicles equipped, to handle this type of call.

The ACO should also have an office or area that is used solely for that purpose and not shared with another town function. A few years ago, volunteers started to fix up the block building attached to the animal holding pens, behind the old Town Hall on Southwest Avenue. Since this property has not sold and is temporarily being used for bus storage, why not allow the volunteers to finish the project, providing the town with a small shelter area, as well as a place for the ACO to work out of?

While some believe that cats should not be part of the ACO’s function, the last thing our island needs is unneutered and unvaccinated cats potentially infecting our resident pet population and our wild animals, or biting residents. If there is a stray cat roaming in a neighborhood, it needs to be picked up, and its owner found; or the animal quarantined, vaccinated and a home found for it.

I also want to apologize for the problems I have caused by offering my assistance to our residents and the town. To some, this has been construed as an attempt to take the ACO’s job. That is the farthest from any thought I have ever had! I love animals, that’s all there is to it.

However, in an effort to end these misconceptions, I resign as our island’s Red Cross disaster animal shelter manager. I will also no longer be available to help with lost pets or stray animals.

I hope our residents and the Town Council will vote unanimously to keep the ACO position a full-time working function because it is a needed function, as well as being such an important part of what makes Jamestown a wonderful place to live.

Barbara Szepatowski

Jamestown The writer is a former member of the Town Council.

Return to top