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To whom it may concern,
I am writing this letter in reference to the Washington County Animal Control Shelter.
Recently, there has been much discussion about the shelter and how it is run and its oversight by the Washington County Board. Since I volunteered and worked there over the past three plus years I feel I can share facts with the community that will spell out clearly the ongoing needs that must be met in order to care for the county’s animals properly.
First, it should be known that there is currently an opening for the Warden position in Clinton County, It pays over 40k a year, includes health, vacation and retirement benefits and a vehicle and phone allowance thus totaling over 60k in pay and benefits combined. The same position in our own county which has been wonderfully led by Deb Hagopian for many years nets nearly half those same numbers. So, in order to attract and keep the very best caring for your animals, you need to pay them
a living wage. This includes the shelter workers who are also paid a pittance versus other similar agencies within the state.
Secondly, I challenge the board members to spend one day volunteering and working
alongside the shelter employees. In doing so they will certainly see the heartache and anguish our workers go through daily as pets and strays are often abandoned, neglected, discarded and abused. I can say there have been several supportive members of the board who feel our pain, but there are others who dismiss our needs and tie our hands when we try to affect change.
Next, I ask that Washington County residents come and walk one of our dogs, sit in a cage with them, hold a kitten or see what we do and go through on a daily basis. There is so much I am proud of and have wonderful memories about, but there is also the extreme anguish that I feel when I see our residents not take responsibility for their pets.
In closing, I guarantee that if you allow the shelter to fulfill its mission it will only flourish and become a beacon of hope to not only animals, but the residents of Washington County. We are only on this earth a short time. So I ask you, “Do you want to be a part of the problem or a part of the solution?”
— Dana Antoine