KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
POWNAL -- One week after the Select Board, following up on a complaint made to the state by a resident, announced it found no problems with how Animal Control Officer Dominick Yarnal was housing seized dogs, the officer told the town he will be stepping down.
Board Chairman Stephen Kauppi said Yarnal informed town officials Monday he would be stepping down in two weeks. Kauppi said Yarnal did not give him a reason why he was leaving the position.
Calls to Yarnal were not returned Tuesday.
"I think he got overwhelmed with the number of animal complaints and things people call about that you can't do much about," said Kauppi, adding that some animal matters are not issues the animal control officer can deal with.
Yarnal was appointed animal control officer last August, after the former officer, Steve Zelman, resigned.
Earlier this month, the board announced that it received a letter from the state Food Safety and Consumer Protection Division Animal Health Section informing it that a complaint had been received expressing concerns over how the dogs in Yarnal's custody were cared for. The complaint, according to the state, alleged the animals did not have adequate food, water, shelter, or protection from predators. It also accused Yarnal of not waiting the required 14 days before having the animals euthanized.
The board voted to table the matter until its next meeting, giving board members time to view the conditions at Yarnal's home where he keeps the dogs. He had also replied to the state in his own letter, saying he keeps the dogs chained near trees and gives them adequate food and water. He said he has always abided by the 14-day waiting period, and in the meantime tried to find homes or shelters for unwanted animals.
Kauppi said at last week's board meeting he and board member Dale Palmer visited Yarnal's site and found it adequate. Kauppi said the town's animal kenneling abilities do however need improving.
Kauppi said Tuesday he is researching portable kennels and hopes to have a plan regarding animal control to put before the board Thursday.
Yarnal has four dogs under his care currently, Kauppi said. He said there is a no-kill shelter upstate that may take them, but he is looking into the cost of that option versus euthanasia. He said the local shelter, Second Chance Animal Shelter, in Shaftsbury, is full at this time.
According to an advertisement from the town, the animal control officer position is part-time, requires some administrative and record keeping ability, and allows certain types of citation authority. Anyone interested must have their own vehicle and holding facilities.
Letters of interest and resumes are being accepted until Aug. 22 and can be mailed to Pownal Board of Selectmen, P.O. Box 411, Pownal, Vt., 05261.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr