Just days after an internal city report found fault with the way the Stamford Animal Control Center handled dog adoptions, the former center manager has been arrested and Mayor David Martin's blue-ribbon panel has begun its review of center operations.
The panel held its first meeting Monday evening, less than two hours after Martin's office announced the appointment of the review panel and its inaugural meeting at 7 p.m.
Last Wednesday, Martin's office announced the conclusion of a Human Resources Department review of allegations that animal control center management continuously allowed the adoption of dogs with histories of biting, despite reports that adopting families returned the dogs because of their aggressive behavior. On June 18, Martin's office announced that animal control center manager Laurie Hollywood had been fired.
And then on Friday, June 20, Stamford Police charged Hollywood with three counts of reckless endangerment in connection with the investigation that began back in April. Hollywood, 42, was released on a promise to appear in court July 7, according to a report in The Hour. Her lawyer, Mark Sherman of Stamford, called the investigation a 'witch hunt,' according to the report.
In the announcement late Monday, Martin appointed to the oversight panel:
The following individuals will serve on the Task Force:
- Eileen Heaphy, Co-Chair, Co-Founder of the Stamford Dog Park and Board of Representatives Member (District 8).
- Art Layton, Co-Chair, Co-Founder of the Stamford Dog Park and former member of the Board of Representatives (District 17).
- Maryann Kleinschmitt, Animal Control Officer, Town of New Canaan.
- Annie Selkovits Taylor, Stamford resident, dog owner, Compliance Consultant and member of the Board of Directors of the Animal Cancer Foundation.
- Theresa Geary, Director of Operations, Connecticut Humane Society.
- Dr. Steve Zeide, Veterinarian and Owner, Bull’s Head Pet Hospital.
Brenden Leydon, Attorney, Tooher Wocl & Leydon LLC.
Its responsibilities include:
- Reviewing current policies & procedures of the facility, in conjunction with City officials.
- Working with all stakeholders, including residents, interested volunteers, and City officials to ensure that the City maximizes the safety of residents and the welfare of all animals in the facility.
- Making recommendations to the Mayor about potential sites for a new Animal Control Center.
The task force's next meeting is tentatively scheduled for July 9 at 7 p.m., according to The Advocate.