By Marjean O'Malley, Stratford Animal Rescue Society
Stratford Animal Rescue Society initially chose not to respond .
Our feeling was that engaging him with a response would not benefit anyone as the allegations were so preposterous.
Why now? Lies, half-truths, incorrect information, and omissions of information should not be taken as him "exposing" any wrongdoing within STARS or Stratford Animal Control.
He may claim how he did/would do things, but he is not privy to the current operations of either.
STARS mission is the well-being of ALL animals impounded in Stratford. We do not "bring animals there" as he suggested. Animals, from Stratford, are there because Animal Control responds to situations they are obligated to.
STARS is NOT subsidized by tax dollars. Funds come from donations from people that care, and constant fundraising. Monies collected from adoptions go into a TOWN ACCOUNT specifically for these funds.
Adoption monies collected were indeed permissible. Such monies are collected at other municipal facilities in CT as well; those able to spay/neuter. Savings to adopters is hundreds in vet fees. New state statutes reflect the logic and acceptance of these practices, replacing the antiquated ones he refers to.
Volunteers work socializing/training animals, making Stratford's animals attractive to adopters. This has been extremely successful. People come from Connecticut and beyond to adopt here. AVERAGE adoption time is less than 3 weeks, a HUGE SUCCESS for a municipal facility.
He claims STARS has "unlimited" access to the facility; untrue. (Unlike while he was employed, volunteer access IS limited and controlled.) Volunteers must also participate in a very specific, thorough training program.
Capacity of the new facility is 30 dog kennels AND a 40 cage cattery; he seems to have "forgotten" that though he has visited the facility, and it is public knowledge. Remember, TWO Town Councils unanimously approved this facility. Actually, plans in existence during his employ contained a cattery. Oddly, after insisting too many animals are taken in he then suggests space should have been used for more dog kennels.
He insinuates it's inappropriate for our volunteers to champion for Animal Control during budget hearings. People stand up for BOE, Police, Fire, EMS, Library, Shakespeare, and more. Is that not our right too?
It should be noted that Stratford Animal Control is held in high regard by their peers. Stratford Animal Control, and its success in working with organized volunteers, is a model they seek to follow; meetings with Animal Control are requested by other municipalities.
Recent meetings with Town Officials confirmed what STARS already knew; that after a preliminary review researching the allegations made, and the complete facts, they have found no wrongdoing on the part of Stratford Animal Control.
The actions, policies, and procedures of Animal Control, and STARS, have been above board, transparent, and within acceptable guidelines, policies, and procedures.
Mr. Griffin claimed that during recent budget hearings I stated the Animal Control Officers are burnt out. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Handouts at these 2 public forums, to those in attendance and Town Council members, explained that the small number of volunteers doing the cleaning, not covered by current PT hrs, are burning out. (I am sure this is on video tape as well. )
These few volunteers have been doing this for months, as most volunteers do have jobs during the week, those available and capable are limited in number. These volunteers have been doing so to keep ACO's available for duty and to meet the needs of residents, rather than in animal housing areas for hours each day.
For more information about STARS please visit www.stfdanimalrescue.com. As always, STARS appreciates the individuals, businesses, and children that support us and Animal Control; on behalf of the animals, we thank you.