Breaking News! The case involving Stamford's former Animal Shelter Director Laurie Hollywood will go to trial after all. Thank you ItsRelevant.com and Samantha Mckelvie for following this story.
Outreach to Pets in Need (OPIN) Formed in 2007 in response to the public's desire to make qualifying tax-deductible contributions to help shelter animals, OPIN was co-founded by shelter volunteers and is an all-volunteer, registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Stamford Animal Care and Control has been OPIN's flagship shelter and OPIN has been dedicated to meeting it's special needs. Watch this video: "What is OPIN?" Funding is used for care not provided by the City of Stamford. More...
OPIN spends approximately $5,000 per month to help the Shelter with special medical care, supplies, dog training, post-adoption dog training at home, advertising, evaluations, subsidies for spaying/neutering, public education -- all the wonderful care and programs Shelter Manager Laurie Hollywood would like to provide for the animals. It is shocking how little the City of Stamford budgets for animal care. More...
Over her nine years Laurie transformed Stamford's "Animal Control Center" into an "Animal Shelter" by bringing modern sheltering to the Stamford Community. She was awarded the City of Stamford Employee of the Month award and the American Red Cross Hero's award.
We believe Laurie Hollywood was terminated and arrested in June 2014 without just cause. Many adopters, prospective adopters and volunteers will attest to her thoroughness in meeting with potential adopters, going over complete backgrounds on all animals prior to adoption.
Laurie has been a dedicated, well respected, compassionate & honest employee for the City of Stamford. She has worked tirelessly to bring modern sheltering practices into Stamford. She has worked with rescues, and volunteers to deploy programs such as, medical care, dog training, evaluations, foster care, low-cost spay-neuter programs, counseling services, etc. to the shelter pets and the community.
Current allegations stem from cronyism, nepotism and whistle-blowing retaliation. Laurie has worked in a hostile work environment because of her resistance to an outdated catch and kill philosophy.
- Over nine (9) years, Laurie has worked short-staffed and was not given support by either her direct supervisors (Police Dept.), the State Dept. of Agriculture or, the City Human Resources Dept. Issues regarding internal personnel problems were stonewalled and ignored. She was prevented from hiring skilled personnel.
- Unsupported accusatory anonymous letters written to Mayors, Internal Affairs and police superiors have been accepted as truths and used against her while offering her no chance to respond.
- She has been criticized and condemned for allowing animals to remain on premises longer than typical municipal shelters allow. Laurie believes each animal should be given the time they need to find a home (a blanket timeframe is not acceptable).
- She has been criticized of taking cats or dogs from owners in need and for taking more than 2 to 3 pets per month from owners.
- Laurie has been criticized for running an “ANIMAL SHELTER” rather than a “DOG POUND”. We believe an “animal shelter” is what the community of Stamford wants. Mayor Malloy supported this concept by officially changing the name Animal Control to Animal Care & Control. The current administration: from the Mayor to the Chief of Police, have made it clear that they do not share this view. They do not care.
State regulations call for ACO staffing at a ratio of one (1) per 25,000 residents. Stamford’s population is over 125,000. This is equivalent to five (5) ACO’s. Over nine (9) years Laurie has worked with no more than four (4) ACO’s, some years only three (3) when positions put on hold.
- Animal Control Officer resigned in Sept. 2010 – position was budgeted for and not filled until April 2012. The person selected was not Ms. Hollywood’s choice and created a condition of nepotism.
- Part Time Kennel Maintainer resigned March 2011, position is budgeted and STILL has not been filled. WHY? In Aug. 2013 applicant offered position. But actual hiring put on hold. WHY?
The use of volunteers is critical to the welfare of the shelter pets. Appropriate use of volunteers has enabled Laurie to accomplish what would otherwise be impossible on the limited resources provided (tiny budget, insubordinate if not incompetent staff, undersized deteriorated facility).
- During Laurie’s time, complaint calls had decreased from over 1,800 calls per year to 1,300.
This was due to her attentiveness in answering and responding to calls.
- Bites had decreased from a high of 99 per year to an average of 57 per year over Laurie’s time.
- Laurie had increased adoptions and decreased euthanasia due to her fairness in evaluating animals and her philosophy of giving animals the time and opportunity for adoption.
- The use of volunteers and OPIN saved the taxpayers money over the last seven years. The City’s budgeted “dog maintenance” line has decreased from $25,000 to $16,000 as OPIN filled the financial gap. Additionally, OPIN paid upwards of $5,000/month in medical care for shelter pets.
Prior to Laurie, the Stamford Animal Control Facility operated under a status-quo catch and kill model. Cats and dogs (owner surrenders) were not accepted. Only stray/roaming dogs were taken off the streets. Animals were given a specific time period in which to find a home before being killed. Very few volunteers were allowed. Laurie did not believe in this old model and she brought a progressive and proven method of sheltering to Stamford, adding “care" to all aspects of Stamford Animal Care and Control.
The old model is the current practice in Greenwich, New Canaan, Fairfield, Bridgeport, Norwalk and most CT town/cities. Stamford can boast a better reported “bite to adopted dogs ratio” than all of them.
WE DO NOT BELIEVE STAMFORD IS READY TO GO BACK TO THIS ANTIQUATED MODEL.
ANIMAL CONTROL IS ALREADY TURNING AWAY OWNERS IN NEED AND INSTEAD, REFERRING THEM TO OTHER AGENCIES. THIS IS OUR COMMUNITY & MANY OF US ARE TAXPAYERS.
Learn more about the "No-Kill " philosophy:
- Go to the on-line legal fund "Friends of Laurie Hollywood!" to help Laurie defray costs.
- Learn about the "No-Kill " philosophy:
- Checkout this site: No Kill Advocacy Center
- Read the book “Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America ” by Nathan Winograd.
Laurie was practicing the proven “no-kill equation” model before the book was published!
- JOIN the Shelter's Facebook page
- Sign the Petition: Implement "No Kill Equation" at Stamford CT Animal Shelter
- Join our Newsletter!
- Keep up with the Task Force: Agendas & Minutes, Videos, check our News
- Come to an Event!
Express your concerns for the need to bring back Laurie and her modern sheltering philosophy: Write to:
- David Martin, Mayor (email@example.com) or here
- Mr. Ted Jankowski, Director of Public Safety (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Ms. Eileen Heaphy, Co-chair Animal Control Task Force (email@example.com)
- Mr. Art Layton, Co-chair Animal Control Task Force (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Annie Taylor-Member Animal Control Task Force (email@example.com)
- The Full Board of Representatives (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Stamford Animal Friends and Advocates, Volunteers and Concerned Residents
7 guinea pigs
10 roosters & chickens 1 goose
3,033 in total lives saved.