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Published: 10/14/2010

Volunteer instruction to aid dogs at pound

BY JC REINDL
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The hope is that volunteers can bestow extra care and pampering that the dog warden's paid staff doesn't have time for. Potential tasks will include walking the dogs, brushing them, training them, and assisting with adoption events.

Ms. Lyle announced the program during a meeting of the Lucas County Dog Warden Advisory Committee, which has suggested such an initiative for months.

"Good things are happening now," committee chairman Steve Serchuk said.

Management and the dog pound's union employees reached a memorandum of understanding on the volunteer issue late last week, Ms. Lyle said.

The volunteers are not to perform any regular staff duties, only additional quality-of-life improvements for the dogs.

The dog warden said she is also in discussions with the union about extending office hours to make it more convenient for some visitors.

The office is currently open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Ms. Lyle said the proposal would shift and extend hours to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The new hours would require hiring two new union employees. Pound workers are represented by the technical and service chapter of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 544.

"We're close to ironing out the details," Ms. Lyle said.

The dog warden department is accepting applications for its first class of volunteers that's to start the second week in November. Volunteers are required to sign a liability waiver.

Ms. Lyle will train each class of up to 15 people.

A new training class could be formed each subsequent month through April, when the program is to be evaluated for effectiveness.

Initially the volunteers will help on weekdays, though some dog committee members are pushing Ms. Lyle to extend volunteer time into the weekend.

Contact JC Reindl at:

jreindl@theblade.com

or 419-724-6065.



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