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News Alert
Pepper Spray Prompts Evacuation at Douglas County …

New Animal Services Director Moves into Adversarial Posture, Shelter Sees 2 Recent Resignations

I have created and published my email contact information so that all concerned citizens and others can contact me directly with their concerns. My contact email is: dc_acab_pyrdum@comcast.net

It is becoming increasingly clear, that Douglas County Animal Control and its new animal services director have moved into an adversarial posture against a large segment of the volunteer community, the rescue community and other concerned supporters of the Douglas County Animal Shelter. Citizens, volunteers and others, who have been actively engaged in supporting the efforts to move Douglas County and the Douglas County Animal Shelter toward a modern and progressive facility, are now being pushed aside and told directly and indirectly that they are no longer welcome at the Douglas County Animal Shelter. Cooperation that has been present between the community and shelter staff has been withdrawn and information critical to the success of adoption and rescue of shelter animals is purposely being denied. Meanwhile, two critical shelter staff have resigned in the past week and the responsibilities of volunteer coordination have been turned over to a private organization now being headed by the animal services director's wife.

In addition, the animal services director is now directing all citizens inquiring with him directly about his policies and their impact upon the welfare of Douglas County shelter animals, county employees and Douglas County citizens, to contact the Douglas County Animal Control Advisory Board. However, there remains no means for anyone to contact ACAB board members, aside from the one board member who has been willing to publish his contact information.

When citizens have contacted county representatives in the past week requesting contact information for ACAB board members, the Douglas County Communications Director and the Douglas County Clerk have obfuscated their responses to the public and attempted to obscure their responsibility to the people to provide that information, by citing non applicable sections of Georgia law to deny citizens information they are rightfully entitled to obtain. Citizen inquiries have then been directed back to the animal services director by the County Clerk and Communications Director. The same county representative who refuses to speak with the public or answer their questions if they involve the policy changes that he has implemented at DCAC since beginning his tenure.

There have been no requests made of the Douglas County Communications Director or the Douglas County Clerk, for ACAB members personal information, which is protected by law. What has been requested is that a means be provided to citizens to contact these representatives of the public by the citizens seeking information and to address their concerns. Douglas County should either provide ACAB members with a county email contact, or the respective ACAB members should establish a separate contact email for the purposes of conducting their duties and responsibilities as ACAB board members and as representatives of the citizens of Douglas County. 

For the record, as a member of the Douglas County Animal Control Advisory Board, I have created and published my email contact information so that all concerned citizens and others can contact me directly with their concerns. My contact email is:   dc_acab_pyrdum@comcast.net

All complaints, concerns and comments concerning Douglas County Animal Control related issues will be responded to individually and all citizen concerns will be forwarded and conveyed directly to the Douglas County Animal Control Advisory Board and to the Douglas County Board of Commissioners.

Carl Pyrdum Jr.

Animal Advocate

Community Liaison

ACAB member

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Pat Evans February 05, 2013 at 05:04 PM
Thank you Carl for you love and concern for the animals and the citizens of Douglas County.
Melanie February 05, 2013 at 06:09 PM
I am appalled at this story and the new directors approach to the citizens and the animal population of this county. Shame on his behavior and his posturing. Did anyone do references on him before they hired him. Please do keep us abreast of any new developments.
McTyre Locksmith February 05, 2013 at 06:21 PM
As a citizen of Douglas County I am greatly concerned over the current situations that have been going on within the facility. There has to be something that can be done to see why these drastic changes have caused a major stir in the community. I however, am concerned over the well beings of the animals that contained with in the facility. It has become a public fact the kennel runs, cages have been limited to a certain amount when in fact there is space available. This to me indicates that there is limited time for a animal to be adopted, and now the rise in euthanasia, when prior to Mr. Smith the rate was at only 16%. I do not feel this is just nit picking on changes, this is in fact of concern on the well beings of animals that will not have the proper time to be adopted, and now limited contact is being provide to rescue and networking sites. Regardless of what is being said and done, the animals are the ones that are suffering. How are any of these animals going to have a chance in life if you can not have good access to them. How can they be a rescue if rescue groups are being denied. This in not a matter of ego, it is a matter of life that is being denied from a man being pissed off. There are too many red flags, and yet nothing is being investigated.
Tricia February 05, 2013 at 06:27 PM
This is just horrible. I'm appalled by this. Who exactly was responsible for hiring this new director?
melissa watkins February 05, 2013 at 08:47 PM
What is his wife's organization? Is this not a conflict of interest?
real time February 05, 2013 at 10:36 PM
looks like a good time to visit our next government meeting and get him gone he started off on the wrong leg. he might quit lol
Carl Pyrdum Jr. February 05, 2013 at 11:25 PM
An UPDATE: I was informed today at 1:50 PM via a phone call from Eric Linton (Douglas County Administrator) that effective earlier this morning, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners met in executive session and voted to remove me from the Animal Control Advisory Board effective immediately. When I asked Mr. Linton the reasoning for the action, he advised me "the board of commissioners said that they wanted to go in a different direction with the ACAB." Based upon those remarks, I can only assume that the Douglas County Board of Commissioners wants to move the ACAB backward to whence it came. Back to the days of clandestine and unpublished meetings and back to the days when the ACAB members were not allowed to inquire about Douglas County Animal Control or animal shelter operations at all. We shall see, but in the interim I want to thank the citizens of Douglas County who placed their faith and trust in me to look after their best interest and the best interest of their animals. Nothing has changed as I approach my continued role as an animal advocate in Douglas county, aside from the fact that I am now more capable and less hindered in my ability to speak out and act as a voice for those who have no voice of their own. Semper Fidelis ~Carl~
Janice Goad February 05, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Good question. Word on the street was that the Board of Commissioners wanted someone who was "degreed", to serve as a sort of director/manager, rather than just shelter manager. I wonder if his resume might somehow be available -- in a redacted version because I don't give a damn about his salary other than knowing I'm paying part of it -- because I'm curious about some things that I believe would be important. I don't know whether the BOC had the final say on this hiring fiasco, or if it falls directly in the lap of the County Manager, Eric Linton. WHOEVER is responsible should be ashamed if they didn't ask questions designed to provide some insight into the philosophy of every single applicant for the position. If they couldn't think of how to go about THAT, they have no business being the person making hiring decisions for such a polarizing position. The citizens of this county made it abundantly clear that they were ready for a progressive shelter manager at the time the previous manager resigned. They were obviously happy with and supportive of the changes in tone and operation of the shelter under the interim manager, volunteers were welcome, animals were being adopted, euthanasia numbers were falling. What on earth would make whoever chose Rick Smith think for one minute that there wouldn't be a revolt if they suddenly threw the whole shelter machine into reverse? Will ANYBODY take responsibility for making this decision? Can they explain why? I doubt it.
Lori February 06, 2013 at 01:30 PM
Why on earth would the Commissioners spend LARGE taxpayer dollars in 2012 hiring Lifeline to assess the shelter for improvements, begin following their recommendations with FORWARD changes and now make a huge step BACKWARD?! Every taxpayer should be asking questions!
Rick Acree February 06, 2013 at 02:37 PM
This is an absolute abomination committed against the animals and people of Douglas County. The cooperation between volunteer recsue and the Animal Control Services had just really begun to take hold showing progress that was making a difference. This progression was such a dramatic change from all previous administrations that I believe it scared the politicans of this county. Progress has always been feared by the established political families in this county. It is past time that they be run out! The doors and books of this administration must be openned to the people of Douglas County. We have had the chances in the last 2 elections to make these changes, but too many residents refuse to open their eyes to see how bad things really are and are too scared to vote for change.
Rebekah Mattox February 07, 2013 at 01:23 AM
EXCELLENT QUESTION LORI! When I met Rick & his wife at the Douglas Co. Humane Society meeting, they seemed to have perhaps fooled me--well, not the wife--she's just a volunteer & "in the middle," but Rick should be an actor or a Congressman since it seems that confusion & strife are resulting & not transparent, hospitable authenticity {Where there is strife, there is every eveil work. You shall know them by their fruits]! There was talk by Comm. Mulcare of death threats to the director, his family, & his dog. His wife was quite upset. I was not able to access that "causes" petition to see those threats perhaps bc it reached 500 signatures & is now closed. What I did see was Lisa L.'s comment as the 1st one. I DO KNOW THE FRUITS OF LISA & CARL. I KNOW they are NOT the ones who threatened. Just saying "different direction" is very vague & disappointing [lawyer/congressmen/con-man garbage] especially as far as the integrity that I THOUGHT Comm. Mulcare & Worthan had [?]! Someone else said to wait & hear "the other side of the story."I'D LIKE TO KNOW THE OTHER SIDE, but nobody I emailed has replied. Is there FASCISM & MASTER DECEIVERS "in charge?" I hope I am wrong...WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT especially in contrast to the hope that animal advocates had for a while...
Rebekah Mattox February 07, 2013 at 01:24 AM
Excellent observations, Rick. Personally, I just plain feel DUPED.
Rebekah Mattox February 07, 2013 at 01:25 AM
BRAVO, CARL:" now more capable and less hindered in my ability to speak out and act as a voice for those who have no voice of their own. Semper Fidelis "
Rebekah Mattox February 07, 2013 at 01:27 AM
Melissa: His wife is simply a volunteer. She seems to be "caught in the middle." She's very upset about death threats which Commissioner Mulcare divulged at last month;s meeting of the Douglas Co. Humane Society. It's all very confusing.
Rebekah Mattox February 07, 2013 at 01:32 AM
In a recent front page article of the Douglas Co. _Sentinel_, the article about Rick Smith discussed the issue whereby it was reported that Rick went to a judge to get permission to euthanize a certain dog. Rick denies this happened. HOW DID THIS RUMOR GET STARTED & can a fact/timeline of all events since Rick arrived be published?! I have felt thankful that volunteers like Carl, Tammy, & Lisa have been so diligent at the shelter bc they are "cut-out" for it which has given me the peace to do other volunteer work w/the Hum. Society. Now I don't know what to think and who to trust. Also, can anyone tell us who just resigned at the shelter?????????
Rebekah Mattox February 07, 2013 at 01:39 AM
I agree, but "SOMETHING" which I cannot identify is "going on" whereby some people appear to be told things FOR APPEASEMENT and OTHER people who might be influential TO leadership are not being proactive & forthcoming, and I don't know why. It seems our honest dialogue within a context of hope & assessment has lost all impact & momentum, and there's just a very small number of whispers saying" Wait & hear the other side." WELL WHERE'S THE REPRESENTATION OF THE OTHER SIDE TO INFORM US OF THE OTHER SIDE? I'm WAITING!
Rebekah Mattox February 07, 2013 at 01:41 AM
McTyre: Please write your above comments to your commissioner & copy to Tom Worthan!
Rebekah Mattox February 07, 2013 at 01:41 AM
I agree w/Pat.
Rebekah Mattox February 07, 2013 at 01:42 AM
Ms. Goad: I hope you will verbalize your comments above to your commissioner.
Rebekah Mattox February 07, 2013 at 01:43 AM
Rick: Please forward your comments to your commissioner & forward to Tom Worthan.
Rebekah Mattox February 07, 2013 at 02:01 AM
Melanie: Please forward your comments to your commissioner & copy to Tom Worthan.
Lori February 08, 2013 at 02:10 AM
Among the most sinister changes are: 1. Rick Smith, new director, reduced the hours open to the public; 2. Rick Smith, new director, reduced the space available to house animals; 3. Rick Smith, new director, reduced the staff allowed to care for animals; 4. Rick Smith, new director, banned socialization time for volunteers and dogs in courtyard; 5. Rick Smith, new director, banned housing puppies together, less socialization and space for the animals; 6. Rick Smith, new director, cancelled the pre-sponsorship program that allowed citizens to sponsor a shelter animal’s vetting previous to its adoption; 7. Rick Smith, new director, impeded volunteers from the shelter; reducing care and networking for the animals 8. Rick smith, new director, refused to make available to volunteers the “Animals in Danger” list. This is the list of the animals that are at risk of being killed and that is created on a weekly basis. 9. Rick Smith, new director, appointed his wife as the new volunteer coordinator; 10. Rick Smith, new director, and his wife, new volunteer coordinator, are in the process of establishing a non-profit organization. 11. Citizens interested in volunteering will have to apply for approval to the new non-profit. The non-profit can deny a citizen’s application and can dismissed an approved volunteer without cause 12. An appointed member of the Animal Control Advisory Board has been removed without cause
Lori February 08, 2013 at 02:18 AM
These changes have led to: 1. Lower rates of adoption and rescue for the animals; 2. Lower quality and amount of care for the animals; 3. Resignation of Road Officer; 4. Resignation of Shelter Supervisor, and within one week; 5. Resignation of Road Officer Supervisor; 6. Discontinuation of a very needed free spay and neuter program for low-income pet owners (reduces unwanted puppies and kittens entering shelter). Those with concerns are told by the Commissioners and Animal Control to contact the Animal Advisory Board. They refuse, however, to release any contact information for this board stating it is private?! ...
Rebekah Mattox February 08, 2013 at 03:46 AM
When I forwarded information of the disturbing, negative dynamics w/intention to be helpful thinking information hadn't been aquired due to busy work of hard working people, I'd have hoped to have been provided with understanding "the other side" or at least a polite response that a more explanantory response would be sent soon. Instead, the DCHS pres. replied to me, PLEASE STOP." I have been a consistent, dependable volunteer always doing my job w/out reminders or replies to my emails. I am stunned, shocked, sadly puzzled, embarrassed and SAD regarding the surreptitious and confusing positions of leadership with NO TRANSPARENCY as if we r living in N. Korea! WHY is only the "opposing side" TRANSPARENT???? Again, thanks to Carl, Tammy, & Lisa! NAMASTE!
Fran Armstrong February 10, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Firstly, I want to begin by saying I have adopted my two dogs from Douglas County Animal control. The first was in 2010. As I entered the facility, I was hit in the face by the strong odor of urine and feces. My dog of choice was a large dog so she was in an outside cage with another dog and two large igloos. She had no choice but to stand in urine and feces for lack of space. After completing the necessary paperwork, I asked a kennel worker to hose down her feces covered feet before we could put her in our car to take her to her permanent home. In 2012 I once again adopted a dog from DCAC. With a new staff in place, I was pleasantly surprised by the changes I saw. The only odor was that of disinfectant. A man was mopping the floors and volunteers were cleaning out the new cages in the puppy and small dog area replacing the bedding with fresh paper. I was so impressed that I commented on the Douglasville Patch and congratulated Mike Pope and the new team. What I have found lacking is the commitment to respond to citizen complaints. From personal experience at times, DCAS has responded 24 to 48 hours after a complaint has been made and then they write "dogs were not loose on their report. I have seen 3 or 4 DCAS trucks on that property but have been told only 1 is in working condition. That is inexcusable. Can't we put someone in charge that can do both..save animals and handle complaints about irresponsible dogs owners. Let's save animals in the shelter and privately owned.

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