Outreach coordinator named by dog warden

 Laura Simmons, with Klinger, ‘has built the relationships and laid the foundation,’ to fill the new position, Dog Warden Julie Lyle said on Thursday.
Laura Simmons, with Klinger, ‘has built the relationships and laid the foundation,’ to fill the new position, Dog Warden Julie Lyle said on Thursday.

Because she has been the lifeblood behind many of the innovative programs to help dogs at the Lucas County Dog Warden’s Office, it makes sense that Operations Manager Laura Simmons will step into the new position of community outreach coordinator, said Dog Waren Julie Lyle.

Ms. Lyle announced Ms. Simmons’ appointment Thursday.

“After this position was created and I started talking about it with [the dog warden’s] management staff, it became apparent that Laura was very interested in this job,” Ms. Lyle said. “This is where Laura’s passion lies.”

The full-time position was unanimously approved by the Lucas County commissioners Tuesday. Ms. Simmons will be paid $20.35 per hour, according to Ms. Lyle.

“She has built the relationships and laid the foundation for this position,” Ms. Lyle said.

One of Ms. Simmons’ key duties will be working with the rescue groups who have signed up to be transfer partners. The groups take dogs that the pound is unable to put up for adoption. Ms. Simmons started the program and is the one seeking out new partners and contacting current groups to pitch dogs with special needs.

“She makes stuff happen,” said Jean Keating, founder of the Lucas County Pit Crew, one of the rescue groups that takes many dogs from the pound. “She networks, and she moves those dogs. She’s awesome, she really is.”

Ms. Simmons is so familiar with the groups that they trust her to suggest dogs that will be a good fit, Ms. Keating said.

“If she says it’s a great dog, it’s a great dog,” Ms. Keating said.

Part of the community outreach coordinator’s duties will be to coordinate events both on-site and off and to support any activities that will help get more dogs adopted. The duties include expanding the volunteer program, which Ms. Simmons started and that has grown to about 45 volunteers, with about 15 who are very active, Ms. Lyle said.

“The [operations] manager job has grown substantially,” Ms. Lyle said. “All of these programs started out small, and in their infancy we couldn’t really tell where they were going to go. These programs need a lot of attention to expand them as as much as we can.”

Ms. Simmons’ current position will be posted once the duties are tweaked, Ms. Lyle said. The pay range has yet to be determined.

“It will have a different title,” she said. “We will be advertising and seeking applicants nationwide.”

Ms. Simmons will continue in her current role until a person can be shifted into the operations position. Allowing her to continue working on the programs she created makes sense, Ms. Lyle said.

“We’ve got someone right now who excels at this piece of the pie, and we’re going to let them focus all of their energies on making these programs the best they can be,” she said.

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6066 or @TanyaIrwin.