The Town of Aurora has to deal with plenty of stray dogs and problem pooches.
That’s why Highway Superintendent David Gunner said it’s time to cancel a longstanding contract with the Town of Wales to handle dog catching there as well.
“Dog catching is a dirty job that all towns have to do,” said Gunner, who oversees Aurora’s dog control operations under a recent arrangement to streamline the services from full-time to part-time under the umbrella of the town Highway Department. “It’s just time to move on.”
The Town Board expects to take up the issue at its work session Feb. 20.
Wales Supervisor Rickey Venditti said he was unaware of any issue with the dog control arrangement until Aurora Supervisor Jolene Jeffe contacted him last week. Gunner said that after reviewing the contract, he sent a memo Jan. 30 to the Aurora Town Board about his proposal to end the arrangement.
“I don’t know what his motives are,” Venditti said of Gunner. “It’s been a very good and fair contract between the two towns. It’s very low-key and is not that demanding.”
Wales pays $2,900 a year to Aurora for dog control coverage. A 90-day cancellation clause is in place for either town to end the contract early, and that’s what Gunner wants to do. The contract is set to run through the end of the year.
Wales averages about three dog control calls a month, Gunner said, but a trying incident Jan. 11 on Schang Road in Wales helped cement his desire to end Aurora’s dog-catching days in Wales.
Gunner said a Wales resident shot and killed another neighbor’s family dog with a 12-gauge shotgun, apparently because the dog killed one of his chickens.
“The sheriff called us in. It was pretty gruesome and was a very emotional scene,” Gunner said. “For me, it was the turning point. Why are we doing this? It’s just not a good thing.”
Venditti said he is disappointed in Gunner’s stance.
“The sad thing is this is what governments are trying to do – some mutual consolidation of services,” Venditti said. “For the low quantity of calls, it was a very fair agreement.”
The Aurora Town Board in December appointed four assistant dog control officers, who are part-time parks workers, to be “on call” and handle dog calls on a rotating basis. That move was part of the plan to move away from a full-time dog control operation in Aurora.