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Town Ready to Turn the Page on Animal Control
By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent
Spring has sprung at the Woodbridge Animal Control and the most obvious warming signs are the buckets of nasturtiums that are greeting visitors along the driveway up to the front entrance. Sitting at a picnic table under a tree last week were some of the shelter’s most loyal volunteers, enjoying a lunch with Animal Control Officer Karen Lombardi.
Lombardi has been officially reinstated in that position and the two criminal charges brought against her were dropped by the court. The two charges involved cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor, and a second degree larceny.
The allegation in the larceny case was that she improperly used vouchers for neutering. The allegation in the cruelty case was that she slammed a dog into the wall. Both charges were brought forward by the Woodbridge police, who at the time were in charge of the animal shelter. But neither of the charges seemed credible to many of the people who worked with her, including veterinarian Kim McClure Brinton, who spoke out in her support.
Since then, Town Hall has taken over control of the facility. Lombardi was placed on administrative leave until the court case could be resolved. The town actually reinstated Lombardi at the beginning of June, even before the court officially dismissed the charges. “Karen is back,” Finance Director Tony Genovese announced at the June Selectmen’s meeting. “We have seen a lot of wonderful improvements.”
Laura Torrence, a volunteer at the shelter and vocal supporter of the ACO, said at the Selectmen’s meeting that within a week of Lombardi’s return, the shelter had three new volunteers, one from Orange, one from Derby and one from Bethany. The garden was weeded and plantings put in. “People want to welcome her back,” she said.
Clearly a weight has been lifted off Lombardi since she heard that the case was dropped, and her friends at the shelter feel the same way. Some had stopped coming during the time Lombardi was away, and the physical condition had deteriorated. “She is a first class ACO and her absence, it shows,” Bethany resident Barrie Collins told the Board of Selectmen at its May meeting, lobbying for Lombardi’s return.
With one ACO off the job, the town had brought in part-time ACO Debora Ice from Seymour. She will be retained on a per diem basis, said Kathy Piccirillo, Town Hall account and personnel supervisor.
At this time, three towns participate in the animal shelter, Woodbridge, Bethany and Derby. There are 12 runs for dogs, indoor and outdoor; a cat room, a chicken coop and some bunny coops. As of last week, there were six dogs at the shelter up for adoption, and several cats and two kittens. There were some hens and two roosters, but no bunnies.
“This is a fun place to be,” said Laura Torrence, who has adopted a pig, a dog and several chickens from the shelter. As a volunteer, she helps wherever work is needed. She just recently had cleared out the cat room, gotten rid of clutter on top of the cages, and scrubbed the floors. There is kennel help at the shelter, but no custodial service.
The town employs two full-time and a part-time ACO, as well as two part-time and one per diem kennel help. They get a fair amount of volunteers from the high school, however new volunteers need to be supported and monitored. Lombardi said her plan is to start an orientation class for volunteers, and she may rely on long-time volunteers such as Torrence or Leigh Anne Russ or Lynn Donato to help her with that.
“I am looking forward to some capital improvements this summer and fall,” Lombardi said. There is some money in the budget to replace perimeter fencing. For the longest time the facility had trouble with the water supply, as it is on a well.
“We have some larger issues coming down the pike,” Town Administrative Director Tony Genovese told the Board of Selectmen in May, referring to the physical plant. He said he is working on a capital plan to look at what’s needed to ensure the life and safety of the animals and the employees as well as preservation of assets.
“It’s a dream of many of us,” Laura Torrence said to the Selectmen at their June meeting. “Perhaps in the future, this facility can be a star in our cap.”
Boy Scout Troop 63, meetings Monday nights from 7:00 pm – 8:30pm, Our Lady of the Assumption "Mother" Church, 1700 Litchfield Turnpike (Rte. 69), Woodbridge; September- April and May-June outdoors at Camp Whiting, all boys ages 10 and up or who have completed the fifth grade are welcome to stop by and see what we're all about. For more information, visit http://www.troop963.org or email Troop63CT@gmail.com.
Woodbridge Republican Town Committee Meetings, second Tuesday of each month, 7:30pm, Center Cafeteria. Visitors welcome and urge you to join us. For information, go to www.woodbridgegop.org.
Spring Entrepreneur Series, Every Thursday, 5:30-8:00pm (PDT), New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm Street, New Haven, View Map, sponsored by SCORE New Haven (http://newhaven.score.org/) and the New Haven Free Public Library to help participants establish a business plan, understand basic financial statements, learn how to build a recognizable brand, and manage technology effectively. Participants will receive a certificate of attendance upon successful completion of the series.
Alzheimer's Community Caregivers Support Group, 2nd Thursday of the month, 5:00pm, Arden House, Conference Room, 850 Mix Avenue, Hamden. Call Maria Paduano, Program Director to RSVP or for more information at 203-281-3500, ext. 7669; www.genesishcc.com.
Woodbridge Rotary Club Meetings, 1st and 3rd Friday of the month, 7:30am breakfast meeting, Country Corner Diner, 756 Amity Toad, Bethany and the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month, 12:15pm luncheon meeting, Carmine Tuscan Grill, 1500 Whalley Avenue, New Haven. Anyone interested in learning more about Rotary should contact Anna Dickerson at 203-710-0223 or email email@example.com.
Annual Fund Drive for Bethany's Clark Memorial Library, contributions requested to help for the cost of a website to update services, etc.
Trap Falls Kennel Club Obedience Classes, every level, AKC STAR Puppy (obedience for dogs under 12 months) and Family Manners Classes/Obedience & Canine Good Citizen; Wednesday and Thursday evenings, Pawz for Wellness in Shelton, CT. For registration and/or information, call 203-450-9485 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Trap Falls Kennel Club is a non-profit member club of the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Amity Parent Support Group, meets every other Friday morning, 7:45am, Woodbridge Senior Center Lounge, 4 Meetinghouse Lane, sponsored by Amity High School, Woodbridge Youth Services and the Orange Drug and Alcohol Action Committee, local parents who struggle with children who are, or may be involved with, substance abuse share experiences and concerns in a confidential setting, For more information, please contact Nancy Pfund at 203-389-3429, or e-mail email@example.com.
Series Commemorating The Centennial Of The Start Of World War One, launches Thursday, July 3, 2014, New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm Street, 5:30pm, free series, Nick Rutter, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor in History at Colgate University, offers historic overview of the war, succeeding Thursday evenings films will be screened that highlight aspects of the War To End All Wars. For more information, call 203-946-8130 x211.
Indian Film Series, Saturday, July 11, 2014, 2:00pm, New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm Street, “Lunchbox”, a 2014 romantic story about how a rare mix-up of the famous dabbawalas of Mumbai leads to a compelling relationship between two strangers. Shown in original languages with English subtitles. Free. For more information, call 203-946-8835.
Doll-Like: An Exhibition and Community Curated Doll Collection, now through July 20, 2014, John Slade Ely Center for Contemporary Art, 51 Trumbull Street, New Haven, an Exhibition and Community Curated Doll Collection curated by Debbie Hesse and Paul Clabby.
The International Order of Rainbow for Girls Seeking Members, Masonic based leadership and service group, looking for girls ages 9 - 15, to participate in community service activities, prospective member open houses on: September 15, October 6, and October 20, 2014, activities begin 7:00pm, Hamden Masonic Lodge, 3732 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, refreshments will be served. For additional information, contact CTIORG.org.