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Thread: Dog lives matter

  1. #451
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorja View Post
    If my hearing has not gone completely awry, I believe, I heard Supervisor Ruffino bring up the dogs issue at 5:29 at the work session.
    Councilman Burkard responded that he had spoke to Lieutenant Gummo and also the Erie COunty DA's office. He also stated that his understanding was that the DA's office is not taking a light look at this and they do expect a conviction.

    I apologize if my hearing was incorrect.

    It was not Councilmember Burkard who responded to Supervisor Ruffino, it was Town Attorney Fowler. He was responding to Ruffino’s query on town legal matters.

    It is comforting to her that the county is involved and expecting a conviction. That conviction cannot come too soon as the findings will have an impact not only on the welfare and placement of the 6 dogs seized, but regarding the costs incurred for the 5 weeks the dogs have already been housed, the additional 3 weeks of sheltering, and possible continuance depending on rescheduled Oct 13 court hearing.

    For the past 5 weeks a seized dangerous dog (along with 5 other dogs) is being housed in the Lancaster dog shelter. In that same period two Assistant dog control officers have resigned. The dog control department is grossly understaffed with weekend coverage unaccounted for.

    Supervisor Ruffino spoke on a resolution he sponsored this past Monday favoring paying a part-time payroll clerk $18 an hour; that it was well justified in today’s economy. Paying a DCO $16 an hour to come in off-shift and care for sheltered animals appears to be unreasonable as there are hiring and maintaining staff issues.

    How are the dogs cared for – fed / watered and kennels cleaned and maintained? What are caregivers being paid for visit and how many times are the dogs looked after in 24 hours? Are they exercised?

    The 6 dogs in custody are Andrea White’s dogs. How long will they be in custody – court case delayed until October 13th. Depending on court findings the dogs could remain in custody longer. Who is picking up the tab?

    Dog lives matter; apparently not so much to some individuals. It should have never come to this point!

  2. #452
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    Thanks for clarifying.


  3. #453
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    Inflation forcing families to give up their pets to afford cost of living

    https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/infl...hard-need-help


    From unaffordable housing to pain at the gas pump and less food on the table despite a higher grocery bill, soaring prices and rising inflation are impacting nearly every facet of American life.

    Sadly, the pain associated with inflation doesn’t just impact the bank account. It can also have a very real impact on the heart of one’s home, particularly when tough choices must be made between putting food on your table or in your pet’s bowl.

    The truth of the matter is that in these tough economic times, pet owners are struggling to make ends meet and many can no longer afford to care for their furry best friends like they once could. We see this problem playing out in shelters across the country, from Austin, Texas, to Kalamazoo, Michigan, as affordability concerns force pet owners to surrender their animals to shelters amid the rising costs of pet supplies and veterinary care.

    These shelters, in turn, become inundated with relinquished pets and are forced to house them in conditions that are rapidly devolving as space, time and resources become stretched thinner and thinner. This problematic cycle exacerbates the difficulties of both pet owners and the animals who lose their homes due to economic uncertainty.


    Comment

    How sad that these pet owners must surrender cherished pets they are no longer able to afford. How despicable of pet owners that abuse their pets or release them onto the streets, fields, wherever.

    God Bless the rescue shelters and the individuals dedicated in caring for our helpless furry friends!

  4. #454
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    Dog Shelter Update

    So, is the dog shelter project ready for close out, or not? Ready for final inspection by the State and approval of grant funds allocated for the project, or not? Apparently not! Project close out was promised for July. Here we are in October and…

    Discussion at Monday evening’s Lancaster Town Board meeting work session:

    Town Engineer Ed Schiller: Fence is done. Survey is done. A little piece to finish on the floor yet. A little piece of galvanizing to take care of.

    Dog Control Committee Chair Mark Burkard: Are they looking at doing the galvanizing on every single one? Make sure that’s coated because then technically…

    Schiller: It’s hard to say because the problem with the galvanizing is that its affected by the welding of the fabrication. Sometimes the welding takes the galvanizing off, and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s hard to say until you see it. Greg says it’s no problem; when he shows up to fix it.

    Supervisor Ruffino: Ed, what’s left to be done; it meets requirements, right? (State requirements to get grant funding).

    Schiller: Everything is done per the grant.

    Burkard: At this time, the State would ding us on that rust; that rust on that gate. So, the flooring has to finally be done, and we are waiting on the guy who is on vacation. And that rust has to be fixed before the final inspection by the State.

    Ruffino: Those are things that need to be done before by the grant conditions, Ed?

    Schiller: Yeah, Greg will be out there to take care of it.


    Reminder: October 6th Lancaster court case on ‘dangerous dog’ is still on.

  5. #455
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    Andrea White court hearing

    The Andrea White ‘aggressive’ dog court hearing was postponed Thursday night. White showed up late and requested the postponement because she claimed the attorney she retained was a ‘no show.’ The case will be added to the scheduled court docket October 13 along with the ‘abusive’ dog hearing charge against White, who was arraigned earlier in Lancaster court accused of holding 9 dogs in her home and abusing one of them.

    Activists were outside court before the arraignment. “This is important because we have to be the voice for these animals. If she gets away with this it’s an open door for every other abuser out there. She’s been doing this for a long time, and she’s finally caught, and we have to be the voice for Nyxxi,” said Kimberly Rodeffer. Wonder if there will be any activists present on October 13th?

    White was offered the option of surrendering the aggressive in lieu of not having to pay for the cost of sheltering the dog since August 14th. She refused declaring she wants her dog back.

    White thus far has not paid any shelter retention fees for any of the 6 dogs seized in August, an amount estimated at $7,000. White declares she did nothing wrong and wants her dogs back. Outside of the ‘aggressive,’ none of the other dogs are licensed.

    When Lancaster has a three-dog-limit per household code in place, how would it be possible for White to have all dogs 6 returned – and to an environment considered abusive and when operating a business without a ‘special use’ permit.

    BTW – Where is that awful stench emanating from in the new shelter. It is even permeating the office. The shelter is being cleaned and maintained. Inadequate drainage system? Air filtration / exhaust inadequacy?

  6. #456
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    Wednesday court hearings; or as the stomach churns

    Unable to attend the court hearing, I have spoken to several individuals who did attend to get their opinions on the outcomes of the Nyxii abuse charges, the 26 tickets issued on the aggressive dog charge, and the status of the 6 dogs seized and housed in the Lancaster dog shelter. An estimated 20 individuals attended the court hearing.

    From the information I gathered:

    Nyxxi hearing – Postponed (again) until November 10th. No one can answer whether the Andrea white felony dog abuse case will be held in Lancaster or county court; whether a grand jury will be paneled.

    Fines

    Andrea White was fined a total of $525.

    Tickets

    26 tickets issued over the last few years for unlicensed dogs and over the town limit of three dogs. Three of the dogs in custody are still unlicensed.

    White was fined a total of $275:

    7 Unlicensed dogs (25.00 per ticket) - $175.00
    4 Over the Limit (25.00 per ticket) - $100.00 in fines

    Special Use Permit violation - $250 fine

    Shelter and vet fees

    Ms. White was ordered to provide a security deposit of $5,000 by October 24th to cover current shelter and vet bills. Failure to comply will result in dogs surrendered to town custody.

    Comment

    Although Judge Colby thanked the attendees for their show of support at the hearing, I understand it was prosecuting attorney Stabler (soon to be elected Town Justice) who acted admirably during the process.

    Ms. White declares she wants all her dogs back. While some fear that somehow that could happen, others do not believe in that possibility, but express concern that the town will get stuck for all the bills. Regardless of cost to the town, the dogs are in a better environment, should not be returned to White, and find good ‘forever homes’ through rescue agencies.

  7. #457
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    Prior to the public Preliminary Budget hearing last night, Councilmember Robert Leary ‘asked’ for the addition of 4 items to the proposed budget. Two of them concerned the Dog Control Department and its personnel.

    1. Moving money within the budget to accommodate for a full-time DCO hire. No additional spending.

    2. Add $10,000 to part-time assistant line item to add 2 assistant dog control officers to meet weekend coverage. It is difficult to hire and keep assistant dog control officers. This will meet all department labor needs. If weekend assistant DCO’s can’t fill shifts, one of the full-time DCO’s will have to cover.

    Supervisor Ruffino interjected that he had put together a fairly conservative budget. “What this does to us now is put us below the tax cap by only $7,078. You have to learn to say ‘no’ sometimes.”

    Ruffino went on to give a comparison on what other municipalities of like size spend on dog control – even stating that some have no full-time DCO’s, and Clarence has but two. “We just added a second one recently, and now we are adding a third,” said Ruffino. “Some other departments are starving for help. You have to stop investing into this department that has been going up evert year. It’s substantial. Where do we draw the line here. We are going to be the highest line item in dog control spending in comparison to other townships. When you go full-time you also add in benefits to the package.”

    Ruffino added that he thought the town could get by with one full-time DCO and assistants – that he was against the second full-time hire.

    Leary countered that it would be a smart move considering what we have already put into the new facility. “We are taking a part-time salary and putting it into a full-time; and ‘yes’ there’s going to be health benefits, but we have not been able to keep the part-time people we had. We need people who are experienced, who are trained, who know what to do when they go out on call. We think it is a smarter way to invest our money.”

    Comment

    Mr. Leary used language like ‘ask to have added to the budget’ 4 budget line revisions and later implying the changes were approved – and justifying reasons for changes. And then consider that Supervisor Ruffino challenged the dog control changes and expenses, declaring we are just under the tax cap levy limit. Confused? Yeah, me too. Were the changes voted on by the board and approved?

    Mr. Ruffino knows a lot on how other municipality dog control departments are staffed and their associated costs but appears to know little on the operation of his own dog control department. He fails to realize how understaffed the dog control department has been – for some time. That assistant DCO’s come and go because of the limited hours, often call in unavailable, and all for $16 / hr. when that amount of salary is being offered (and more) for pouring coffee at Tim Horton’s – at no risk of bodily harm.

    When asked later by a resident how many dogs were currently housed in Lancaster’s shelter, Ruffino answered 6. He was corrected and told ten – which is correct.

    Speak with anyone who knows anything about Lancaster’s dog control operation, and they will tell you Lancaster is lucky to have DCO Jean Karn heading operations. She has been complaining on short staffing, especially, experienced staffing for quite some time.

    The dog control department would have no budget issues if it were sharing in the license fee revenue. It goes into the General Fund. Karn has been requesting the town perform a dog census. It was promised years ago, and nada. More revenue lost. More revenue lost in the operation of an inefficient court system.

    Supervisor Ruffino speaks on information given him by other municipal Supervisors. I have also examined the budgets from the towns he referenced. Unlike Lancaster with a line-item department budget that lists all expenditures, their dog control costs are spread throughout their budgets. Apples to oranges.

    Public safety is #1. The staff, public, and the dogs deserve better! They will now be getting better!

    BTW- No dog report today! And what is that stench in the new shelter?

  8. #458
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    Suspected fraud

    Social media is abuzz with claims that a GoFundMe fundraising drive is disingenuous, and that people should be contacting the organization to inform them of the petition’s disingenuous / fraudulent claims.

    Not having a Facebook account, I did receive numerous email postings of the petition. The petition reads: Bring back my Doby and my other pups

    The petitioner’s name is Andrea Sliwonik, and her goal is $6,000 to pay the town to get her dog Dobby and her other dogs back that ‘were unjustly removed’ by the town.

    Residents are upset / angry claiming the petitioner is none other than Andrea White who is up for Town of Lancaster & Erie County felony charges of animal theft and abuse. Doby is one of 6 dogs housed at the Town of Lancaster shelter and White has been charged to pay outstanding vet and accrued shelter fees (since mid-July).

    Animal advocates are requesting individuals contact the GoFundMe site, report the disingenuous petition, and request petition removal.

    https://www.gofundme.com/contct/sggest/fraud

  9. #459
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    Correction

    Link in post 458 should read:

    https://www.gofunfme.com/contact/suggest/fraud

  10. #460
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    Amazing sight, amazing people

    Man Sees Ukrainian Dogs Waiting Patiently In Line, Then Realizes Why


    https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/...f376c99db226f4

    Ukraine, Nate Mook saw something that stopped him in his tracks. Standing in a perfectly distanced line across the sidewalk was a group of displaced dogs, all patiently waiting their turn to eat from a pet feeding station Mook had helped install the day prior.

  11. #461

  12. #462
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    Lancaster Dog Control Now Hiring

    Full- Time with Benefits and Part-Time no Benefits Dog Control Officer:

    General Description:

    This employee performs duties in retrieval, impounding, and care of stray and/or DANGEROUS DOGS and the enforcement of laws and ordinances governing dogs in Lancaster and Depew.

    Typical Work Activities:

    Responds to calls for service involving stray, injured or menacing dogs; Seizes and impounds stray and DANGEROUS DOGS. Assists the public with dog related concerns. Issues citations and warnings to dog owners in violation of laws and ordinances. Investigates complaints of barking dogs, dog nuisances and VICIOUS or neglected dogs. Refers suspected animal cruelty situation to appropriate personnel. Shares information with dog owners to support healthy choices for the care and maintenance of their dogs. Removes stray dogs and transports to animal shelter. Patrols local parks to enforce dog laws. Attends Dog Control training seminars. Authors routine reports within a computer records management system. Displays a proper attitude conductive to good relationships with other personnel and the public. Observes all safety rules and regulations. Testifies in court, as required. Operates a vehicle to transport dogs and pick up supplies. Maintains interior and exterior of facility for safety of employees and public.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    High School Diploma or Equivalent, PLUS: One (1) year of work experience (full-time or part-time equivalent) which involved the care, treatment, handling, or transport of dogs. Work experience may have been acquired at an animal shelter, veterinary office, animal hospital, or field operation. MUST HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH DOGS OF ALL TEMPERAMENTS. Possess a valid driver’s license with a clean driving record. Candidates must have a satisfactory police record, background check required. Will be on call every other week 24/7.

    Starting Pay: $16.22 per hour for full-time and $16.00 for part-time.

    Full-Time: Monday-Friday 3pm-11pm

    Part-Time: Saturday and Sunday 8am-4pm Must Work Both Days

    Comment

    The Dog Control Department has had difficulty hiring and keeping part-time employees - wages, hours, experience, hazards being deterrents. The town wants to right size the department to meet 24/7 shift coverage while doing so at reasonable cost. This past weekend the shelter had 9 dogs in its possession.

    I would suggest the department investigate hiring its third full-time dog control officer and scheduling that individual Wednesday-Sunday, eliminating the need for a part-time position that will be difficult to fill and having three full-time experienced personnel managing the department.

    BTW:

    The fetid / offensive odor permeating the new shelter remains. What is causing it and why is it not being taken care of? Drainage issue? Air filtration system?

    Have all the tasks been completed allowing the town the ability to close out the project to receive the grant funds from the NYS Animal Companion grant program?

  13. #463
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    Dog control update

    Outside of the dust up between Supervisor Ruffino and Councilman Leary on the $10,000 budget adjustment for dog control to reorganize the department to staff it accordingly to meet NYS Ag. & Markets standards for kennel guidelines and protecting the safety and wellbeing of the public, staffing and dogs, there again was no report given by board members or the town engineer on the progress of the tasks to be completed to receive the grant funding from the NYS Animal Companion grant fund.

    While Supervisor Ruffino spoke Monday evening on his budget conservatism and voting ‘no’ to his own budget submittal because $10,000 was added to a $40 million budget to hire a third full-time dog control officer, citing that the department’s budget of $159,000 was far above other towns of equal size or larger, I have yet to hear from Ruffino who was responsible for costing town taxpayers $150,000 for botching the new shelter project. Who was responsible for underestimating the cost of the new shelter project and who was responsible for the town under applying for the NYS grant - $305,000 instead of $500,000?

    No mention again of whether all the project tasks ordered completed by the state to receive the grant funding have been completed. A project closeout date promised for the end of July is still open.

    No mention why staff and shelter visitors are complaining about the putrid smell emanating all the way into the shelter office and no resolution despite staff complaints. Board of Health & AG & Markets should be notified. Drainage issue? Inadequate ventilation system? Seems like a number of issues have popped up since the town entered the ‘value’ package with the contractor to reduce construction costs.

    No mention why the fencing is already rusting and eroding from the sheltered dogs urinating on it – shelter only in operation several months, no such evidence noted in shed shelter in operation for years.

    No mention by Ruffino or Leary at Monday evening’s town board meeting why a part-time position is needed for weekends. Three full-time staff members should be able to cover weekend needs as well as around the clock coverage. New full-time hire should be scheduled for Wednesday through Sunday. All bases would be covered by full-time professional, experienced personnel.

    It was mentioned that the third full-time hire would allow for a dog census to be performed next year which would help bring in added revenue to defray the cost of the third full-time hire. How does that help defray the department expenditures when all the revenue from dog licensing fees goes into the General Fund?
    Last edited by Lee Chowaniec; November 9th, 2022 at 12:05 PM.

  14. #464
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    Andrea White dog abuse court hearing postponed again

    An assistant Erie County District Attorney requested a stay at last night’s Lancaster Court hearing on the Nyxxi theft and abuse case. Postponed until December 14th and okayed by Town Justice Jeremy Colby. Why is this case even being held in Lancaster?

    Who let the dogs out?

    No one! Andrea White’s six dogs seized in July remain in custody at the Town of Lancaster’s dog shelter. At the October 13 court hearing Ms. White was ordered to provide a security deposit of $5,000 by October 24th to cover current shelter and vet bills. Failure to comply will result in dogs surrendered to town custody.

    October 24 has come and gone, no security deposit was received, the dogs are still in the shelter and no official court order has been issued to declare the dogs have been surrendered to the town, whereby the town can move the dogs to rescue agencies to find forever homes.

    Why the delay when the cost to the town is already $7,200 for shelter fees + vet bills. We are on the taxpayer’s dime and further delay adds to the cost and more importantly to the discomfort of the confined dogs. I know of several rescue agencies that are waiting to get involved in moving the dogs to better environments than what they have been accustomed to under White and with the stench emanating from the shelter.

    Supervisor Ruffino has cautioned taxpayers to beware on how their hard-earned dollars are being spent. Hello!

  15. #465
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    As posted on November 11th:

    Andrea White’s six dogs seized in July remain in custody at the Town of Lancaster’s dog shelter. At the October 13 court hearing Ms. White was ordered to provide a security deposit of $5,000 by October 24th to cover current shelter and vet bills. Failure to comply will result in dogs surrendered to town custody.

    Andrea White failed to meet the security deposit obligation by October 24th. The dogs are still at the shelter and Justice Colby has yet to authenticate their surrender to town custody so the dogs can be released to rescue shelters or to forever homes. What is he waiting for?

    The cost for sheltering these dogs + vet bills has exceeded $7,000 and every day after costing town taxpayers $60. It’s been 3 months and the dogs are also under stress.

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