The town of Chester's dog shelter, nearing completion, is intended to be used to steer more stray dogs into adoption rather than euthanasia. The adoption program's proponents included Chester's recent animal control officer June Maxam, who was terminated from her position Feb. 23 soon after she aired comments tinged with anger at the town board as they discussed animal control and adoption policies.
Photo by Thom Randall.
CHESTERTOWN The controversial and stormy three-month tenure of June Maxam as town of Chester Animal Control Officer came to an end Thursday night.
At the conclusion of a special town meeting Feb. 23, the town board voted to relieve Maxam of her duties immediately and pay her up through Tuesday night — as well as award her two weeks severance pay.
Voting to end her employment in the part-time post were board members Michael Packer, Stephen Durkish, Edna Wells and Karen DuRose. Voting against the termination was town Supervisor Fred Monroe.
The vote was taken after a closed-door session that lasted about 40 minutes. Immediately before, the board had discussed details of proposed amendments to the town animal control and adoption policies.
Town Board member Karen DuRose questioned whether it was appropriate to require potential adoptees of stray dogs to list the names and ages of all members of the household, including children.
“This is a little intense,” she said of the proposed adoption procedure. DuRose also questioned whether a proposed adoption fee of $150 might be a deterrent to adoptions.
Maxam responded by jabbing her finger in the air toward DuRose and asking in an angry tone, “Do you have any idea what it costs to maintain an animal per year?”
“If you don’t want the dog for $150, you don’t deserve the dog. — he doesn’t belong in your home,” she continued.
Others questioned whether home visits and evaluations of home ambiance were really appropriate, or would yield valuable and representative information.
As he discussion progressed, Maxam left the meeting, and didn’t return.
After announcing their decision to oust Maxam, town board members refused to comment on their decision.
“It just didn’t work out,” Stephen Durkish said.
Monroe said enough had already been aired on the subject.
“There’s been enough controversy — I don’t want to comment,” he said.