The termination of the contract with Animal Control Officer Wayne Spicer last Monday resulted in a flurry of activism last week on the animal shelter’s Facebook page. The Villagers’ Voice reached out to County Board chairman Don Puckett for clarification on the county board’s position, the reasons which were unclear at last Monday’s board meeting when the contract with Spicer was terminated. As these things usually go, there are two sides to the story.
On the Friends of White County Illinois Animal Shelter’s Facebook page, there are statements posted that the dogs will now be euthanized in 7 days, along with demands that Spicer be reinstated and encouragement to call all the board members. The page itself states that it is not operated by the county, and postings are not made by or with the authority of White County. The page is operated by “Friends of ” the shelter. On Thursday, county board chairman Don Puckett gave this statement:
“The board decided to go in a different direction. Wayne does a good job, there’s no doubt about that. We all (the board) agree on that. His Facebook posts attacking someone’s character became an issue. He was warned in December in another incident that happened. We asked him to keep everything on social media positive, not negative. Facebook is a great tool for the adoption of dogs,” Don Puckett stated.
Puckett commended Spicer’s use of the shelter’s Facebook page to place the dogs and praised his work with the dogs saying those things the board had no issue with, but according to Puckett, Spicer was warned not to attack people on social media and to keep his posts friendly. The board felt he failed to do this after being warned about it the first time.
According to Puckett, Spicer’s postings were jeopardizing the relationship between the city and the county, and said it was important for them to get along together since they share the shelter building. Puckett said that Spicer stated to him personally that he would never get along with Carmi’s animal control officer.
Puckett said the board didn’t know Spicer was letting teenagers volunteer to walk the dogs. He said, with not knowing if the dogs were vaccinated or not, the board had concern if a dog got loose and bit a child at the park, then the county would be liable. He stated there is a pen in the back of the shelter for the dogs to stretch their legs. When asked, he stated the board had no quarrel with adult volunteers helping at the shelter.
About euthanization of the dogs, Puckett said there has been absolutely no talk of that, saying “Wayne has totally fabricated euthanization, that we hate dogs. There has been no talk of that.”
Spicer was under contract with the county. Puckett says the contract states if either party has a problem, the contract can be terminated with a letter and 14 days notice.
“We wish Wayne the best, and, as I said on Channel 44 News, he’s gifted and he loves the dogs. We just didn’t like the attacks on people on social media,” Puckett concluded.
The Voice has left a message for Wayne Spicer, but has yet to receive a return call.
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