New procedures at animal pound
Changes affect donations, volunteers
By Bert Lehman
Those looking to donate items or volunteer time to the Clintonville Animal Pound will have to follow new procedures.
In a Jan. 13 press release, City Administrator Sharon Eveland said that after the Clintonville City Council took no action on a proposed contract with Clintonville Veterinary Hospital at its December meeting, the city reviewed the pound’s operations.
This review was done to make sure the pound is being operated in an appropriate and efficient manner, because the city could potentially continue the service in-house for the foreseeable future.
“A number of concerns came up that needed to be addressed,” Eveland said in the release.
Eveland said she and Police Chief Craig Freitag were unable to find a job description for the animal pound keeper position.
“As such, Chief Freitag put together an appropriate job description and submitted it for approval to the Police and Fire Commission at its January meeting,” Eveland said.
The press release was sent out after the Police and Fire Commission met on Jan. 13.
The pound keeper position was also originally on the Jan. 14 council agenda. Since it is a personnel matter, however, the job description is under the sole authority of the PFC, so it was removed from the council agenda.
Expired food donations
Donations to the animal pound were also cited by Eveland.
She said donations were being tracked and accounted for in a “haphazard way.”
“We had quite a bit of food that has expired and the pound keeper was directed to dispose of all expired food,” Eveland said. “In addition, there appears to be some equipment that does not belong to the city, but rather was donated directly to the pound keeper. Because of insurance and liability concerns, and to just keep things clean, the pound keeper was directed to remove anything that did not belong to the city.”
Only official city property will be allowed to be used in the pound, Eveland stated.
“Moving forward, monetary donations for any services or equipment as well as in-kind donations must be brought to the Police Department so as to avoid some of the issues that are present now,” Eveland said. “The city sincerely appreciates all donations that are made and is not happy about having to dispose of these donations, however, we cannot feed expired food. The donation procedures are being put in place so as to avoid this in the future. We are not rejecting donation offers; we are simply requiring they be done in a formalized manner and be done based on the actual need of the facility.”
According to the press release, Eveland and Freitag are currently researching the “possibility of setting up a special arrangement with the local vet clinics to allow monetary donations directly to the vets for the spay and neuter services the city authorizes and any necessary medical care, excluding euthanasia services. This would allow any groups or individuals to donate to the care of the animals for services for which the city does not typically budget.”
Social media postings
The way animals are publicized for adoption will also be changing.
“Moving forward, all social media postings regarding adoptable animals are only authorized on official city social media platforms,” Eveland stated. “Any individual, including employees, may share such postings in an effort to reach as many people as possible, but official postings are not authorized to be made from personal social media pages. This falls in line with our general operations and the city’s social media policy that was approved as part of the personnel manual update in March of 2019. There are record retention laws that must be adhered to and that becomes difficult when a personal page is used for public business.”
All those who volunteer to work at the animal pound must now pass a background check.
“This rule applies to all city operations and not just the pound,” Eveland said. “Statements were made at the December council meeting that volunteers were operating at the pound. While volunteer service is always sincerely appreciated, we must follow certain procedures. This requires the tracking of when volunteers are present on city property and ensuring background checks have been completed. Having unapproved volunteers on site is a legal liability and the city will not permit that to continue.”
Eveland concluded that “the changes being made at this time are being made so that the pound will operate in an efficient and proper manner that also takes into account our personnel policies and our liability concerns. In addition, it ensures that decisions are being made by the appropriate individual and that all monetary and in-kind donations are properly tracked and accounted for.”