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Bay/North Olmsted animal control officer interviews to start

By Jeff Gallatin

WESTSHORE – Officials are beginning interviews for the five finalists for the animal control officer Bay Village and North Olmsted will be sharing.

Hours and pay for the officer will be split 50-50 between the two cities. Bay Village approached North Olmsted about sharing a position after Rocky River and Westlake said they could not share their current officer. Bay officials eliminated the position several years ago as part of the budget cuts during the Great Recession. North Olmsted also had eliminated its position.

Bay Village Police Chief Mark Spaetzel said in addition to the interviews, the police department has begun doing the background checks on the candidates.

“That’s standard procedure for any type of position where you’re going to be involved with law enforcement,” Spaetzel said. “And this individual is going to be working for both cities in a sensitive position, so we definitely need to get the right type of individual for it.”

Bay Village began taking steps last year to bring back an animal control officer shortly after two pit bulls ran out of a home and attacked a small domestic dog named Charlotte, giving her fatal injuries and injuring her owner and his son-in-law while they tried to protect her. It was the second time in a year a smaller dog had been attacked by a pit bull coming from that home. In the first attack, the smaller dog suffered severe injuries but survived. The pit bulls’ owner was convicted of misdemeanor animal control offenses in Rocky River Municipal Court. In addition, Bay Village toughened its animal control laws and began the process of bringing an animal control officer back.

“There was strong sentiment in the community for the stronger laws and bringing back the animal control officer,” Law Director Gary Ebert said. “It’s someone people can see when we’re dealing with different animal control issues.”

In addition to dealing with issues like animal attacks, strays and accidents, Bay city officials want the animal control officer to help devise a plan for deer control in the city. “That’s a big issue, too,” Ebert said.

Bay Village Human Resources Director Jennifer Demaline said all the finalists have experience working with animals. “Several do have experience in animal control work, but they all have some experience of dealing with animals,” she said.

Spaetzel said the animal control officer will report to the police chief in Bay Village and the safety-service director in North Olmsted.

 

 

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