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October 29, 2012

Animal control officer steps down from post

WEST NEWBURY — After nearly a quarter century managing wild animals and domesticated pets in town, Animal Care and Control Officer Madelyn Cirinna is stepping down. In a letter reviewed by selectmen on Oct. 24, Cirinna tended her resignation effective Jan. 1, 2013. She is also leaving her post as Inspector of Barns --a state appointed post. Selectmen plan to advertise the part-time ACO position.

In her letter, Cirinna recognized the “help and support” she received over the years from the police department, public safety dispatchers, health agent, highway department and Town Clerk’s office. “I was a department of one, but I never felt alone,” she wrote.

The letter also pointed out some ongoing difficulties with the job for selectmen to consider going forward. Cirinna wrote that she had difficulty finding qualified coverage for those times when she was unavailable, noting that “emergency coverage is paid at only $25 per call out at this time.”

A lack of proper access to refrigeration for dead wildlife and unclaimed deceased cats and dogs continues to be a problem ever since a freezer she used located in the highway salt shed stopped working. “The Highway department and even the Health Agent have been dealing with the deceased wildlife,” Cirinna wrote, though she noted that the state handles road kill along Route 113.

In addition, Water’s Edge Veterinary hospital is no longer able to serve as a “Pound” for the town, Cirinna pointed out. “They cannot hold dogs or cats for the town because of a lack of staff for the extra hours and care required.”

Cirinna closed her letter by stating “I have enjoyed providing the service and care to the town of West Newbury and its population --human and animal (wild and domestic) as the Animal Care and Control Officer.”

Town Counsel Michael McCarron noted that a new animal control law, effective on Oct. 31, requires ACOs now undergo a state approved and state funded training. There will be a grace period under which the next ACO can obtain the new training, McCarron said. He also suggested selectmen explore the possibility of a regional ACO option.

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