KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
POWNAL -- The Select Board voted Thursday to table a complaint about Animal Control Officer Dominick Yarnal for two weeks, giving them time to research whether he is following state laws on boarding animals.
The board discussed a letter Thursday from the state Food Safety and Consumer Protection Division Animal Health Section, which said it recently received a complaint about Yarnal.
"The complaint stated that animals are not kept in proper enclosures, are able to escape when the enclosures are opened, are not provided with shade and protection from predators, are not properly provided with food and water, and are euthanized prior to the required holding period," wrote Shelly Mehlenbacher, assistant state veterinarian for the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets. The agency oversees the protection division.
Mehlenbacher provided the board with a list of statutes regarding municipal animal boarding and asked the board to look into the matter then contact the state if clarification is needed.
The letter came with a copy of one Yarnal had sent to the state. According to Yarnal's letter, the dogs are kept in dog houses on 10- to 15-foot chains. He said there is no fence, but he's willing to put one up if the board agrees. He said the animals are provided with adequate food and water and have access to shade from nearby trees.
"As far as euthanization, no dogs have been euthanized without the permission of the (board). The holding period is 14 days by statute, and after that if the dog is not claimed, it remains in my custody. We are on a waiting list with Second Chance Animal (shelter), but openings are far and few between," wrote Yarnal.
Board Chairman Stephen Kauppi said one or two board members should visit where Yarnal keeps animals and see what it's like before discussing the matter further.
Board member Ronald Bisson said he had heard complaints from a few people that they were having issues contacting Yarnal over the phone, and that should also be addressed.
Calls to Yarnal Friday were not returned. Calls to the Animal Health Section also were not returned.
Yarnal was appointed animal control officer on Aug. 25, 2011. According to board Administrative Assistant Linda Sciarappa, two dogs have been euthanized through the town.