A group of protesters is pushing to have the newly-hired director of Douglas County’s animal shelter removed from his position.
About 30 protestors spent hours in front of the Douglas County Courthouse, holding signs saying that animal shelter director Rick Smith needs to go.
Tracy Thompson was the kennel supervisor for three years, but she quit soon after Smith began.
“He started reducing cage space, reducing the kennel staff, and it just was not going to be a life-saving shelter, and I’m not going to work at a shelter that’s not progressive about saving lives,” Thompson said.
Smith was not available for comment.
The county spokesman, Wes Tallon, said he was chosen after a nationwide search, and has been on the job for less than 90 days.
“Mr. Smith has got to be given a chance. He has not been here long enough to establish his programs and what he plans on doing,” Tallon said.
Carl Pyrdum said he made up his mind after looking at records from Smith’s former shelter in Missouri.
“From pulling open records requests, he had a 56 percent euthanasia rate over the past five years. He had a 40 percent euthanasia rate in 2012,” Pyrdum said.
Douglas County currently has a 16 percent euthanasia rate.
“We’re headed in the right direction. Had one of the lowest euthanasia rates in the state, and I think it’s just going to go a lot higher now,” protester Jason Flatt said.
“Since Mr. Smith has been here, the only animals who are no longer with us are those who have been sick, who were feral or totally unsociable. So we do not euthanize just for the sake of euthanization,” Tallon said.
Many of the protesters use to volunteer at the shelter, but said they’re not welcome to volunteer anymore until they make
Tallon said new rules are in place at the shelter to keep the animals safe.