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It's the End of DAC as We Know It

Woodbridge Police set to take over animal control operation for three towns.

The Woodbridge Police Comission last night heard a plan from First Selectman Edward Sheehy in which Woodbridge will take over management of what is now known as the District Animal Control (DAC).

Since the towns of Orange and Bethany opted to withdraw from the Municipal Animal Control District, Woodbridge was forced to make alternative arrangements. Those arrangments -- once approved by the boards of selectmen in Orange and Bethany -- would mean animal control falls under the supervision of the Woodbridge Police.

In a letter from town counsel Gerald Weiner to Sheehy, Weiner explained that since the town of Woodbridge owns the Bradley Road animal control facility, it would make sense to follow the ongoing animal control activities there. DAC's two animal control officers will continue employment with the town and shouldn't anticipate any changes to their jobs, Sheehy said.

The new arrangment will save the three towns more than $40,000, a 17.27 percent reduction in the animal control budget, Sheehy said. Under the proposal, Bethany will pay $35,579, a reduction of $7,421; Orange's share is $93,415, $19,494 less than it is paying now; and Woodbridge will pay $63,413, $13,239 less than the current cost.

The lead animal control officer and the animal control officer will report to the chief of police. A part-time animal control officer will be let go, a move that saved the town $15,600.

"We are going to take on the existing full-time personnel," Sheehy said. "We don't want to take away their livelihood after doing this job for a number of years."

The boards of selectmen in the three towns are expected to vote on the change over the next week so the new arrangement can be in place by the close of the current contract on July 1.

On Thursday (June 2) Orange First Selectman Jim Zeoli confirmed that the data for this proposal has been provided, but cautioned that it is not a done-deal yet.

The Orange Board of Selectmen will meet in a special executive session on Monday, June 7, to  discuss the  proposal and prepare for the public hearing that will take place at the regular Selectmen's meeting on June 8.

He said he has no idea what the board will decide or what the public hearing will bring.

Depending on the public's vote, Orange could stay with the Woodbridge shelter or partner with Milford as it has discussed in the past.

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