City officials are now handling animal control via several sources after longtime animal warden Kirt Ward sought a higher paying job within the city.
Safety/Service Director Scott Thomas said Ward is still utilized on some animal control calls, but the Cuyahoga County Dog Warden staff is handling some calls as well as city police and some volunteer groups.
“We’re using several methods right now,” Thomas said. “We’re hopeful that we will save some money in the long run, but we won’t know that until a few months have passed.”
Ward said he became interested in going on a construction and work crew when he got back from a vacation in May.
“It always helps to have some more money, so when I saw the work crew job with more money, I applied for it,” Ward said.
Thomas said the city is continuing to look for ways to save money and thought perhaps this could be one way.
“Kirt went after a job that was going to be filled,” Thomas said. “He’s always been a good worker and has a great reputation, so he got the job. But, that still left animal control.”
Thomas noted that other communities have utilized Cuyahoga County services more often in recent months.
“We talked to them and they’re glad to help, but they still only have six workers on this, so we didn’t want to rely on them entirely,” Thomas said.
In addition, the city didn’t want to completely lose Ward’s high level of expertise gained through his … years of experience.
“Kirt is really good with the animals and the public,” Thomas said. “So, we have the calls go to the foreman of his crew and myself, with the police also continuing to play a part,” Thomas said. “If it’s an emergency, we think he should handle or it’s something that can be handled before or after his shift, we’ll get him out there. If not, we try to rely on the county, police or even the volunteer groups taking them.”
Thomas said the city does anticipate having some overtime via calling Thomas out for some calls still but didn’t have an exact figure since it’s only been underway a short time.
Thomas said the city is still evaluating the situation but said it still plans to utilize Ward on some animal controls for the foreseeable future.
“This seems to be working right now, so we’d still like to have his experience when we can,” he said.