Barking and growling over shelter

| 21 Feb 2012 | 11:01

    MONROE-The Monroe Dog Shelter ignited tempers and prompted harsh words at Monday's Town Board meeting. At issue is Supervisor Sandy Leonard's decision to take control of the shelter, located on Mine Road, on May 25. Kathy Forian, the town's animal control officer, faces disciplinary action, but she remains in the town's payroll. Since taking over the shelter, Leonard has approved the euthanization of five dogs. Those decisions, as well as what is to happen with the shelter itself, were at the heart of some of Monday's heated exchanges. Amanda Thompson, who until Monday had been a town employee working at the shelter, demanded to know why the town was not moving forward with the construction of a new animal shelter. Recalling past bids that had been rejected, she questioned why the town could spend $2 million to build a park but wouldn't spend $338,000 on a new shelter. Thompson also said "Sandy has murdered five dogs in the past week" and claimed that all five animals were healthy and "highly adoptable." As Thompson began to speak louder and more quickly, Leonard banged her gavel and shouted, "That's enough." The supervisor acknowledged that five dogs had been put down in the past two weeks. However, she said, "in the opinion of many people," these dogs were not adoptable. With regard to the $338,000 figure Thompson mentioned, Leonard said that while bids have been received, she did not recall the exact amounts. Councilman Peter Martin added that a bid in that amount had been rejected because it apparently did not include several features such as outside dog runs. Another shouting match ensued with Thompson asserting that as a friend of that contractor she knew that the bid was adequate. "That's not what was submitted to the town," Martin responded. Leonard then stated that due to an on-going investigation and pending litigation, the matter would not be discussed any further. Thompson continued to make her position known throughout the remainder of the meeting. Earlier in the meeting, former Conservation Commission member Ward Brower voiced his criticism of the town supervisor' decision to run the dog shelter. "What she should have done is gotten on the phone to (DPW chief) Roy (Montanye) and have him send someone down there," Brower said. Forian, who faces Civil Service proceeding, has hired Chester attorney Ben Ostrer to represent her. About half of the 31 dogs at the shelter on May 25 remain there. The others have been adopted or transferred to other shelters in addition to the five that were euthanized.