The person chosen to take over the director’s job at Chesterfield County’s embattled animal shelter has quit, amid harsh criticism of proposed county rules for animals.
Animal rights activists are criticizing the county’s newly proposed animal ordinances, scheduled for a third and final public reading at the regular monthly meeting of Chesterfield County Council at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, at the county courthouse. The entire ordinance can be reviewed at the County Council Office located upstairs in the Chesterfield County Courthouse.
Rescue groups involved with the county’s efforts to control the animal population say the new ordinances may very well cause more problems than they’ll solve because of newly implemented pull fees. Rescue workers are already threatening to stop working with Chesterfield County because the new fees will be significantly higher than what they’ve been paying to have animals treated and or vaccinated.
Joy Young, who has already resigned her position on council’s animal shelter committee that was charged with the responsibility of writing the ordinances, said, “The ordinances they are implementing aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.” Young’s biggest complaint is that “pulling fees for rescue groups will only punish the animals and the rescuers trying to help.”
Young claims suggestions she submitted for inclusion in the ordinances were dismissed. “All items I submitted, that had teeth and had the potential to reduce the number of unwanted animals and slow the revolving doors at the shelter down, were removed,” said Young.
Chesterfield County Councilman Douglas Curtis said, “some of the ordinances will be hard to enforce to start with, but we’re trying to do the right thing by the animals.” Other elected county councilmen on the special committee did not return phone calls.
Jerry Lynn Gaskins, the newly hired director of Chesterfield County’s animal shelter, was not present at the Jan. 19 meeting of the animal shelter committee but confirmed rumors Friday afternoon that she has ended her employment at the shelter.
Gaskins said Tuesday she quit her job because of “major disagreements surrounding the operations of the shelter and animal control.” Some of those disagreements she said, “include, but are not limited to” the pull of authority she felt between council and animal control officers.
Gaskins, also a member of Paws and Claws, said she would continue in some capacity “to do everything possible for the animals of Chesterfield County.”
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, ext. 229, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.