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Thread: Dog lives matter

  1. #136
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    Status of new dog control facility

    At last night’s town board meeting, the board unanimously voted to reject all bids received for the construction of the facility on December 1, 2020.

    Having not heard anything about the project’s status in the past year, I questioned the board for clarification on the project’s status.

    Chowaniec: Supervisor Ruffino, on December 1st, the town was made aware the bids to construct the new dog facility well exceeded the town engineer’s estimated cost of $305,000 – by $700,000. Why did it take 7 weeks to reject those unrealistic bids?

    Supervisor Ruffino: There were discussions going on between the town and Ag & Markets (State grant agency). Ed (Schiller – (Town Engineer) you can talk more about the bids.

    Ed Schiller: The contractors were notified that the buds were not going to be accepted. They were notified prior. There will be a rebid. Three or four weeks ago we had a discussion with Ag & Markets.* They signed off on some of the modifications. We sat down with the Dog Control Committee and we reconfigured the floor plan and put together the new specifications.

    *Agriculture & Markets - State Agency awarding the New York State Companion Animal Capitol Fund Grant

    Chowaniec: Has the town submitted the new building design to the State for their review and t application approval – a design that meets construction costs, State grant standards and compliance to meet dog safety and security needs? Has the State looked at your new proposal and agreed the new design meets their standards?

    Schiller: Yes.

    Chowaniec: I can’t get any information on the status of the project. And I am an advocate of this project proposal. So I would like to ask the following:
    What is the size of the building compared to the 2,150 sq. ft. in the 2020 grant application?

    Schiller: I don’t have the numbers in front of me, so I don’t want to misquote it. We dropped off a couple of kennels. There are six (of nine originally proposed) still being allocated; two for large dogs. We made the office a little smaller. Ag & Markets looked at it and said in their mind there is no change in how they reviewed the original application and the modifications submitted.

    Chowaniec: Is this still going to be a brick & mortar building?

    Schiller: Well, no. The original application was going to be a brick-and- mortar building, but Ag & Markets is open to what the shell construction is. It can be It can be wood. It can be brick. It can be steel.

    Chowaniec: In the new design, will there be a garage?

    Schiller: Yes.

    Chowaniec: Will there be adequate separation between kennels to provide safety from aggressive or sick dogs?

    Schiller: Yes.

    Chowaniec: Will the facility have an HVAC system (heating and cooling).

    Schiller: Yes.

    Chowaniec: Will there be adequate sound proofing? From what I understand even the people who work in other buildings in the town complex they can hear the dogs barking – as well as the neighboring residents. If the building is not brick-and mortar, which dampens sound, is there some kind of soundproof package?

    Schiller: Yes, there will be standard construction as far as the walls go There will be some additional soundproofing put in between the kennels in the office area. In the current situation you have those kennels outside.

    Chowaniec: So there is going to be an office, become right now her office is down the road of the complex, in another building. For me it’s important to have someone in the building to overlook the operation to ensure the dogs are being provided for as to safety and security.

    Schiller: Yes, there is office space provided in the building as well as a work area, bathroom, sink, and washer / dryer,

    Chowaniec: When there a design in place and where construction bids are put out on what you are proposing could it be put on the town website or available by FOIL?

    Schiller: I don’t want to answer. That would be up to the town board.

    Supervisor Ruffino interjected: Lee, it is up to the town board. This is a town project, and we can’t go out and ask everyone’s opinion. That’s not how it works. We trust the engineer to put up the building.

    Chowaniec: I understand that end of it, but as a taxpaying resident of the Town of Lancaster, I should have the ability to look over the project. That is what openness and transparency is all about.

    I am especially interested in this project because we frequently hear and read of families taking in dogs because of the Covid pandemic, Families are going to be encountering difficulties keeping the dogs when they go back to work, kids go back to school, and realizing the cost of maintaining the dogs, whatever,

    The town may encounter the difficulty of having a lot of dogs released onto streets or brought to the dog facility for placement. You have to be prepared for on the potential onslaught coming.

    Councilman Wozniak: Your time limit is up. But I can assure you as part of that Dog Control Committee we will have conversations with the public on how we move forward.

    Chowaniec: In the past we would get committee reports on projects. Perhaps that’s the avenue you want to pursue. Let the people know of the projects status, not so that a year later they are wondering what’s happening.

  2. #137
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    THE PURPOSE Of LICENSES FOR DOGS

    Lancaster Dog Control receives many questions regarding dog licenses. We hope that the following information will answer your questions…

    WHY SHOULD I LICENSE MY DOG?

    1. It’s the law – New York State Agriculture & Markets Law, Article 7, requires that dogs in New York State be licensed and wear their dog license tag.

    2. Easy identification – When wearing a license tag, dogs are easier to identify, enabling them to be reunited with their owner faster. A license is a lost dog’s ticket home.

    3. Health / safety – By requiring that a dog have valid rabies vaccination prior to licensing, a dog license helps to control and prevent the spread of rabies. If your dog bites another person/animal or is on the receiving end of a bite, the rabies vaccine can protect them from a dangerous and potentially fatal illness.

    WHAT DOGS MUST BE LICENSED?

    EVERY dog owned or harbored in New York State for more than 30 days must be licensed. The ONLY license exceptions are as follows:

    • Dogs under 4 months of age not running at large.

    • If a non-resident brings a dog into New York State for less than 30 days and the dog is licensed according to the resident state’s licensing laws

    NUMBER OF DOGS ALLOWED

    - Town of Lancaster: No residence shall own or harbor more than 3 dogs.
    -
    - Village of Lancaster: No person shall own or harbor more than 2 dogs.
    -
    - Village of Depew: No residence shall own or harbor more than 3 dogs.

    REMINDER NOTIFICATIONS

    Each dog owner will receive a reminder postcard one month prior to the month that the license expires. At the beginning of the month after the license expired that will be a second reminder by mail. If the dog license has still not been renewed by the license expiration there will be an additional $5.00 late fee due for each month that the license is late, and you will receive a “Final Notice of Delinquent Dog License”. This gives you 30 days to renew the license before you receive a court appearance ticket and a $25.00 court fine additional to the late fees.

    HOW TO LICENSE YOUR DOG

    In order to license your dog, you will need to provide the proper paperwork from your dog’s veterinarian and the appropriate fee. Each dog is assigned a permanent official identification number and issued a metal ID tag which is to be attached to your dog’s collar and worn at all times.

    VETERINARIAN PAPERWORK REQUIRED

    RABIES VACCINATION
    All dogs 4 months or older must have proof of a valid rabies vaccination showing the date of vaccination and whether it is a 1 year or 3-year vaccine OR a certificate from a licensed veterinarian stating why the life of the dog would be endangered by the vaccine.

    SPAY/NEUTER (if applicable)
    If the dog is spayed or neutered, a certificate from a licensed veterinarian must be presented at the time of licensing. Spay/neuter is not required; however, it does reduce the cost of the license.

    LICENSE FEE

    For your convenience, the Lancaster Town Clerk’s office is able to license your dog 1 year period. Fees are NON-REFUNDABLE.

    • Spayed or Neutered dogs - $13.00

    • Un-Spayed or Un-Neutered dogs - $20.00

    License Fees for residents age 65 and older:

    • Spayed or Neutered dogs - $5.00

    • Un-Spayed or Un-Neutered dogs - $12.00

    SERVICE, EMOTIONAL SUPPORT AND THERAPY DOGS

    • Emotional Support and Therapy dogs are NOT exempt from license fees.

    • Service dogs are exempt from license fees but you will need to sign a Service Animal Acknowledgement form that certifies your dog is individually and fully trained as a service animal to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.

    When going to license your dog for the first time you must go to the Lancaster Town Clerk’s office and you will need to make an appointment (due to Covid-19). If you are renewing a license you may renew online through the Town of Lancaster website, by mail or external drop box located at Town Hall.

    If you have any further questions, please contact the Town of Lancaster Clerk’s Office 683-9028 or Town of Lancaster Dog Control 220-5650.

  3. #138
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    DCO attacked and bitten by aggressive dog

    At Monday evening’s town board meeting, councilmember Robert Leary asked Supervisor Ruffino if the board could get a report on the condition of an assistant dog control officer (DCO) bitten by an aggressive dog while answering a dog welfare complaint call last Wednesday. Supervisor Ruffino requested Jean Karn, head DCO report on the matter.

    Karn reported that the officer is slowly progressing and that it would take some time to heal (13 stitches in the calf area). “Thank you very much for taking the time for asking about her,” Karn added.

    Comment

    This event gives evidence how dangerous this part-time job can be – all for $14 per hour and with no benefits. The department is staffed with 5 female DCO’S, all obligated to answer calls alone and too often under threatening situations - and at all hours of day or night.

    There is a significant increase in aggressive dog complaints and recorded dog bites. The incidences will increase with the increase of dog adoptions during Covid and with the potential risk of release of dogs when family members return to jobs and school.

    It bodes well that the new dog control facility will now have an attached garage that will allow for enclosed safe transfer of aggressive dogs without fear of such animals escaping and terrorizing the community.

    It was thoughtful of councilmember Leary to ask of the condition of the bitten DCO. He is not a member of the Dog Control Committee. We are still awaiting reports on the status of the new dog control facility regarding final size, design, cost, and timeline for RFP’s (Request for Bid Proposals).

    Town Engineer Ed Schiller (project point person) gave us a rundown of revised facility design and components at a recent meeting, yet the project has not been put out to bid.

    What is going on Mr. Schiller? You underestimated the construction of the original designed building by $700,000, redesigned the building confident the cost would come in at the $305,000 grant fund agreement, and yet it has not been put out for bid? I am asking you because Supervisor Ruffino officially announced that you were the point person in charge of dealing with the State regarding grant funding obligations and construction costs.

  4. #139
    Member mark blazejewski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Chowaniec View Post

    It bodes well that the new dog control facility will now have an attached garage that will allow for enclosed safe transfer of aggressive dogs without fear of such animals escaping and terrorizing the community.
    I am certainly glad to hear that the garage seems to be included in the final product, because, your January 20, 2021 transcribed notes notwithstanding, I was still somewhat unclear about its status based upon a previous Schiller comment:


    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Chowaniec View Post

    Chowaniec: What is the square footage of the new designed building?

    Schiller: 1,200 to 1,300 square feet.

    Chowaniec: Garage included?

    Schiller: Garage, which is not required.
    Last edited by mark blazejewski; February 3rd, 2021 at 03:37 AM.
    Ruffino's definition of transparency?: "Basically, I have three votes."

  5. #140
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    Mark:

    Reread posts 130 and 136 and you will find that a garage is included in the revised design – as was included in the grant application:

    Post 130

    At the December 7th town board meeting I asked Town Engineer Ed Schiller the following:

    Chowaniec: Garage included?

    Schiller: Garage, which is not required.


    Post 136

    At the January 18th town board meeting I asked Town Engineer Ed Schiller:

    Chowaniec: In the new design, will there be a garage?

    Schiller: Yes.


    I thought it was made quite clear by Schiller that a garage is included in the revised design - and necessary considering the recent DCO dog bite incident. The current method of transference and handling of dangerous dogs is a disgrace – especially considering the separation of DCO office from kennel shed. The current kennel is not adequate in guaranteeing housed dog safety from aggressive dogs.

    Hopefully, there is a compensation process in place that adequately covers the medical and loss of work expenses.

    I also find it strange that councilmembers Leary and Dickman had to advocate for assistant DCO’s to get salary increases to the $14 / hr. level this year when in 2012 those officer salaries were $15.78 / hr.

    IMHO, not enough attention has been paid to the hazards DCO staff face and the needs to efficiently operate a service that protects a community of both dog lovers and not from harm.

  6. #141
    Member mark blazejewski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Chowaniec View Post
    Mark:

    Reread posts 130 and 136 and you will find that a garage is included in the revised design – as was included in the grant application:

    Post 130

    At the December 7th town board meeting I asked Town Engineer Ed Schiller the following:

    Chowaniec: Garage included?

    Schiller: Garage, which is not required.


    Post 136

    At the January 18th town board meeting I asked Town Engineer Ed Schiller:

    Chowaniec: In the new design, will there be a garage?

    Schiller: Yes.


    I thought it was made quite clear by Schiller that a garage is included in the revised design - and necessary considering the recent DCO dog bite incident. The current method of transference and handling of dangerous dogs is a disgrace – especially considering the separation of DCO office from kennel shed. The current kennel is not adequate in guaranteeing housed dog safety from aggressive dogs.

    Hopefully, there is a compensation process in place that adequately covers the medical and loss of work expenses.

    I also find it strange that councilmembers Leary and Dickman had to advocate for assistant DCO’s to get salary increases to the $14 / hr. level this year when in 2012 those officer salaries were $15.78 / hr.

    IMHO, not enough attention has been paid to the hazards DCO staff face and the needs to efficiently operate a service that protects a community of both dog lovers and not from harm.
    First and above all, my thanks and best wishes to injured DCO.

    Secondly, Lee, as an animal lover, thank you for all of your efforts applied to the new Dog Facility, which will in part stand as a monument to your community commitment and your love of animals.

    Again, thank you.

    Secondly, my best wishes to the injured DCO.

    To your point, I have no substantial doubt that a garage is included, but Lee, experience tells me that if someone uses an awkward qualification such as "not required," instead of a simple, naturally reflexive "Yes" or "No," it may be for a reason which the reader can not readily foresee when reading it.

    I use cautious language to meet cautious, rather awkward language; better be safe than sorry in my world, that was my intent.
    Last edited by mark blazejewski; February 3rd, 2021 at 01:18 PM.
    Ruffino's definition of transparency?: "Basically, I have three votes."

  7. #142
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    At Monday’s town board meeting Supervisor Ruffino asked the councilmembers if there were any ‘Official Reports’ or ‘Committee Reports’. None were offered.

    That said, another three weeks will pass before we hear of a possible update on the status of the new dog control facility. Status like:

    Whether the town engineer has completed new facility design and estimated construction cost that will meet $305,000 allotted funding (Agriculture & Markets Grant - State Agency awarding the New York State Companion Animal Capitol Fund Grant covering 75% of project cost, and 25% from town).

    If so, why hasn’t an RFP (request for bid proposals) been formally issued by town resolution? The process usually takes a month. That would take us into April.

    What then if the construction bids come in again much higher than the stipulated $305,000 project cost? The bids came in near $1 million in early December.

    The grant was approved one year ago with a two-year window of completion. Town engineer Schiller keeps insisting there is a lot of time left to complete the project. Yet one year has passed and we have not completed the construction cost bid process.

    It would be very disappointing to lose this project because of underestimating construction costs and/or foot dragging. The current 4-kennel shed facility sans garage / attached office / proper dog safety / security measures, etc. is not adequate for a town / villages 45,000 population operation.

  8. #143
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    The silence has been deafening

    Perhaps someone can explain why it is next to impossible to get any information on the status of constructing the new dog control facility. Like others when contacting the Dog Control Department, we are told to contact the Supervisor’s office, where we are told in turn that Town Engineer Ed Schiller is finalizing the design to be put up for contractor construction bid requests.

    The project process began in June 2019, consisted of applying for a state grant that would cover 75% of the construction costs. The grant application was approved in early 2020. Estimated construction cost, $305,000. Initial construction bids were declined on December 2, 2020 ($700,000 over $305,000 estimated project cost). When questioned at a town board meeting in early January 2021, engineer Schiller declared the facility would be downsized in kennel number, but still include a garage and other equipment needs to meet required State standards.

    Several weeks later no resolution has been offered or adopted to put construction bids outs, nor is any information available to the public on building, design, size, materials, etc.

    One year after state grant fund application approval and we have yet to approve a bid for construction costs.

    Dog Control Committee Chair Wozniak promised updates and transparency. The silence has been deafening. What is going on?

  9. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorja

    Yes, I think it's more doable the way Mike did it, a portion of the town every year

    The Town of Tonawanda did a dog census in 2019. The police officers did the census. I think their population is over 70,000 and they found it was doable. I wonder of anyone from the town ever inquired about their process.
    No, the police did not perform the dog census, the Explorer's Club did - a youth based volunteer group working with the police. The volunteers do a section of the town every summer and receive minimal pay.

    The Town of Tonawanda's population is not 70,000. The 70,000 number encompasses the City of Tonawanda, Town of Tonawanda (includes Kenmore) and North Tonawanda. All have their own dog control departments.

    Several years ago the Lancaster town board committed to performing a town wide dog census (incorporated Villages of Lancaster and Depew as well). It never happened. The current dog control officer (DCO) included in her budget $5,000 to perform a town wide census. Her dog census budget was cut in half and she was told to do half the town.

    The DCO was also advised to do a mail census to reduce census expense – like that will work. And you wonder if the town would consider using police resources and associated costs to do a dog census? That would be absurd.

  10. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Chowaniec View Post
    No, the police did not perform the dog census, the Explorer's Club did - a youth based volunteer group working with the police. The volunteers do a section of the town every summer and receive minimal pay.

    The Town of Tonawanda's population is not 70,000. The 70,000 number encompasses the City of Tonawanda, Town of Tonawanda (includes Kenmore) and North Tonawanda. All have their own dog control departments.

    Several years ago the Lancaster town board committed to performing a town wide dog census (incorporated Villages of Lancaster and Depew as well). It never happened. The current dog control officer (DCO) included in her budget $5,000 to perform a town wide census. Her dog census budget was cut in half and she was told to do half the town.

    The DCO was also advised to do a mail census to reduce census expense – like that will work. And you wonder if the town would consider using police resources and associated costs to do a dog census? That would be absurd.

    I guess these news articles has it wrong
    PUP PATROL: Town of Tonawanda PD to conduct dog census

    TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Town of Tonawanda Police Department will be conducting a dog census, starting on July 8th. Officers will be going through the Town of Tonawanda and Village of Kenmore.
    Any dogs they identify will be checked for a valid license. Town and Village law requires all dogs who are 4 months old or older must have a valid dog license. https://www.wkbw.com/news/local-news...uct-dog-census
    Police to conduct dog census in Kenmore, Town of Tonawanda

    Starting Monday, Town of Tonawanda police will conduct a dog census in the town and the Village of Kenmore.


    Officers will check every dog identified in the census for a valid town or village dog license. Residents discovered keeping an unlicensed dog will have 15 days to obtain a license.



    Town and village law require all dogs four months and older to have a current license.

    Town and village residents can acquire a dog license at the Town Clerk's Office in the Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Ave., Room 14, Kenmore. Owners must get a current rabies certificate before obtaining a license for their dogs.


    Call 877-8800, ext. 1562, for more information. https://buffalonews.com/news/local/p...23bbfc357.html

     DOG CENSUS — Residents of Town of Tonawanda and Village of Kenmore should note that the Town of Tonawanda Police Department will be conducting a dog census in the town and village beginning Monday, July 8. All dogs identified during the census will be checked for a current town/village dog license, which are required by law for all dogs four months of age and older. Residents found to be harboring unlicensed dogs will be given 15 days to acquire a license.
    Dog licenses can be purchased at the Town Clerk’s office in room 14 of the Kenmore Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Ave., Kenmore. A current rabies certificate is required to obtain a license. To learn more, call 877-8800, ext. 1562. https://www.kentonbee.com/articles/spindle-items-494/
    I believe the census number just includes the Town of Tonawanda and the Village of Kenmore.
    2010 census figures

    Town of Tonawanda - 58,133
    Village of Kenmore - 15,423
    North Tonawanda - 31,568
    City of Tonawanda - 15,130

    It just might be that I'm interpreting what I've read wrong. I still may have a little Covid "brain fog"


  11. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorja View Post
    DOG CENSUS — Residents of Town of Tonawanda and Village of Kenmore should note that the Town of Tonawanda Police Department will be conducting a dog census in the town and village beginning Monday, July 8. All dogs identified during the census will be checked for a current town/village dog license, which are required by law for all dogs four months of age and older. Residents found to be harboring unlicensed dogs will be given 15 days to acquire a license.
    Dog licenses can be purchased at the Town Clerk’s office in room 14 of the Kenmore Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Ave., Kenmore. A current rabies certificate is required to obtain a license. To learn more, call 877-8800, ext. 1562. https://www.kentonbee.com/articles/spindle-items-494/
    A policeman's time is way too precious and far too valuable to the fundamental issues of life, death, and public safety.

    Perhaps such a responsibility could be handled by existing staff from the various existing departments, part time summer help, or with the cooperation of the LCSD, perhaps student volunteer/interns compensated with real-life experience credit?

    Just some thoughts.
    Ruffino's definition of transparency?: "Basically, I have three votes."

  12. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark blazejewski View Post
    A policeman's time is way too precious and far too valuable to the fundamental issues of life, death, and public safety.

    Perhaps such a responsibility could be handled by existing staff from the various existing departments, part time summer help, or with the cooperation of the LCSD, perhaps student volunteer/interns compensated with real-life experience credit?

    Just some thoughts.
    Good ideas Mark. But apparently, in the end, Lee said the police didn't do it anyway.


  13. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorja View Post
    Good ideas Mark. But apparently, in the end, Lee said the police didn't do it anyway.
    I understand what Lee said Gorja, but I advanced the ideas so that a dog census may be expeditiously completed in the interests of public safety and without political overtones.
    Ruffino's definition of transparency?: "Basically, I have three votes."

  14. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorja View Post
    Good ideas Mark. But apparently, in the end, Lee said the police didn't do it anyway.
    Yes Gorja, that is what I have been informed. I would think it a good idea if you were to question councilmember Mike Wozniak, the Chair of the Dog Control Committee for clarification on the Tonawanda matter – police doing the dog census.

    I would find it interesting if you questioned Mr. Wozniak if he thought it a good idea to have Lancaster’s police do the dog census. What he would say on the use of valuable police public safety resources and the associated cost to perform a dog census.

    The census cost would be of great interest to me as the Supervisor cut the $5,000 Dog Control Department dog census 2021 budget request in half.

    IMHO, public safety here is not the priority it should be and comes at a time when reported dog bites are on the rise and where recently an assistant dog control officer was seriously bit - where a drain was required along with numerous stiches. Even with the drain, an infection set in and weeks later the officer is not back to work in town or in her regular employment.

    I would also like to hear someone else question on the status of the new dog control facility. Supervisor Ruffino and councilmember Wozniak promised transparency, openness, and committee reports. So far, crickets!

    Promised for years and still undone!

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