Stamford Mayor Creates Animal Control Task Force After Dog Adoption Scandal

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Stamford Mayor David Martin announced the creation of a committee in light of the firing and arrest of Laurie Hollywood, the former manager of the city's Animal Control Center. She is accused of adopting out dogs with an aggressive history.
Stamford Mayor David Martin announced the creation of a committee in light of the firing and arrest of Laurie Hollywood, the former manager of the city's Animal Control Center. She is accused of adopting out dogs with an aggressive history. Photo Credit: Contributed

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Stamford Mayor David Martin has appointed a seven-member Animal Control Center Task Force following the firing last week of the center's manager after allegations that dogs with an aggressive history were adopted out.

“I am pleased to appoint an exceptionally qualified team of professionals and community leaders to serve on the Animal Control Center Task Force," Martin said in a statement. "While they are diverse in their backgrounds, all members share a common commitment to promoting both the safety of residents and welfare of animals, and I am looking forward to working with them in the weeks and months to come.”

The press release announcing a 7 p.m. Monday meeting was released shortly before 6 p.m.

Eileen Heaphy, co-founder of the Stamford Dog Park and Board of Representatives Member for District 8, will co-chair the committee with Art Layton. He is also co-founder of the dog park and a former member of the Board of Representatives for District 17.

The other members are: Maryann Kleinschmitt, animal control officer for the town of New Canaan; Annie Selkovits Taylor, Stamford resident, dog owner, compliance consultant and member of the Board of Directors of the Animal Cancer Foundation; Theresa Geary, director of operations for the Connecticut Humane Society; Dr. Steve Zeide, veterinarian and owner of Bull’s Head Pet Hospital; and Brenden Leydon, a lawyer with Tooher Wocl & Leydon.

Last week, Laurie Hollywood, the center's manager, was fired after a report said she had allowed aggressive dogs with a history of biting to be adopted out. There were a number of dog bites reported from the dogs.

She was also arrested and charged with criminal negligence on Friday in connection with the case.

The Task Force will help to lead the city’s efforts to address the recent issues at the Animal Control Center. Its responsibilities include: reviewing current policies and procedures of the facility, in conjunction with city officials; and working with all stakeholders, including residents, interested volunteers, and city officials to ensure that the city maximizes the safety of residents and the welfare of all animals in the facility.

The committee is also charged with making recommendations for potential sites for a new Animal Control Center.

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