Waterford-East Lyme Animal Control Officer and the ad hoc animal control facility study committee keep chugging along.
They’ve been , at least, by the Waterford First Selectman. The East Lyme First Selectman thinks the goal is too big. But still, the small but determined force marches on, hoping to build a new
“My goal is to keep plugging along, even if we have to raise 100 percent of the money (for a new shelter) ourselves,” Yuchniuk said.
The animal shelter committee has been around almost two years, although fundraising has picked up substantially when Yuchniuk’s wife, Melissa Yuchniuk, became the head of fundraising six months ago. The group has raised nearly $85,000 for a new shelter with little fundraisers and coupled with
Waterford and East Lyme share an animal shelter, which is located behind the Waterford Police Department, and split the cost to pay Yuchniuk. The current animal shelter was built in 1956 and cost $6,000, Yuchniuk said.
“It isn’t like the town didn’t get its money’s worth,” he said.
The shelter is now outdated and has several issues, Yuchniuk said. There is no real place for cats, so he keeps them in cages in front of the building, there is no heat in the building and there is no bathroom, to name a few, he said.
In 2010, Waterford commissioned a group to look into a good solution for the animal shelter, the ad hoc animal shelter facility study committee. That group has since added two members from East Lyme, and they are committed to building a brand new shelter while renovating the one they have.
The group asked Waterford to support last summer, both of which the Waterford Board of Selectmen rejected. Now the group is looking to build a shelter for around $500,000, Steward said.
First Selectman Concerns
East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica questioned the need of a new shelter. The current shelter can hold 10 dogs, and on average the shelter only holds five dogs, five less than full capacity, he said.
Instead, he would prefer to refurbish the existing shelter, which he said is in “deplorable” condition. He also wants to refurbish Old Lyme’s shelter as well, find a place to handle the cats and have one animal control officer and part-time help – not a police officer like Yuchniuk – handle the animal control responsibilities of Old Lyme, East Lyme and Waterford.
“Those costs would be less divided by three,” Formica said. “I think that is a better mouse trap.”
Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder agreed with Formica, saying the three towns could save money by regionalizing the service. Old Lyme has a nice shelter and three good part-time animal control officers, but the new system with a full-time animal control officer could increase efficiency and stability, she said.
“We have very good service now,” Reemsnyder said. “We have a great group of three people. But I think it would be an improvement (in service) because you have a full-time person on.”
Reemsnyder said with part-time people, there is a higher rate of turnover, so a full-time person would provide more stability. All of this would have to be approved by town boards, but the negotiations among the three towns’ leaders is “about 75, 80 percent” complete, Reemsnyder said.
“It looks like a good solution,” she said. “We just have to work it all out, and finalize it.”