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Published: Wednesday, 12/4/2013 - Updated: 8 months ago

New name, hours official at Lucas Co. dog warden’s office

Department now called 'Lucas County Canine Care & Control'

BY ALEXANDRA MESTER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Volunteer Kaye Stephens walks a dog outside the Lucas County Canine Care Center. Volunteer Kaye Stephens walks a dog outside the Lucas County Canine Care Center.
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Changes are in the works at the Lucas County Dog Warden’s Office, including a new name, a new staff member, and even expanded hours.

Dog Warden Julie Lyle will announce today the office has changed its name to the Lucas County Canine Care & Control. Also beginning today, the office will begin selling basic supplies for new dog owners.

Ms. Lyle said Tuesday the new name reflects an updated department.

“‘Warden’ is pretty antiquated. It conjures up not-so-nice things — jails and prisonlike environments — which we’re not,” she said. “We’ve made a number of changes and improvements over the last several years. We want our name to reflect who we are.”

Visitors to the office at 410 S. Erie St. near downtown Toledo may have noticed the building’s new sign out front. Graphics on some of the department’s vehicles also have been updated.

Sunday, the department began its new public hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The office had been open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, with no Sunday hours.

“We just want to be more accessible to the public,” Ms. Lyle said. “It will allow, hopefully, people to claim their dogs quicker. We’re hoping we can be more accessible, especially to the working folks, who have a hard time getting here during working hours.”

The operations manager position has been eliminated in favor of creating two positions: a canine-care center supervisor and a community outreach coordinator. The former operations manager, Laura Simmons, will shift into a new role as the community outreach coordinator.

County commissioners Tuesday approved hiring Jodi Harding of Maumee, currently the senior animal-care supervisor for the Toledo Area Humane Society, to fill the canine-care center supervisor role at an annual salary of $43,201.60. Her start date with the county is to be determined.

“When we created the operations manager position, we couldn’t foresee how things would expand at that point,” Ms. Lyle said. “For one person to try to do all of the in-house operations, plus the volunteers, plus the transportation partners and the outreach and social media, it was just too much.”

The canine-care supervisor oversees all in-house operations such as directing kennel and office staff and handling logistics. The community outreach coordinator is responsible for dog transfers, social media, educational, and transportation programs, as well as some aspects of the volunteer program and special events.

“They’re very, very busy, and it warrants it,” Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak said of the staffing change. “It gives the office more of an opportunity to meet with people in the community.”

To help dog owners get their new pet settled, the department is selling such items as collars, leashes, dog food, and treats. Ms. Lyle said the new retail component is a small source of revenue for the shelter’s operations and helps owners avoid having to take a new, unfamiliar dog into a public pet supply store.

Ms. Lyle and Ms. Wozniak said internal discussion of the changes began several months ago.

“It has been very positive,” Ms. Wozniak said. “We’re excited about the changes there. … They’re trying to do their best to present themselves in a positive way, that they can help and be a resource to the community.”

Contact Alexandra Mester at: amester@theblade.com or 419-724-6066.



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