I refer to your recent article “Shelter Cuts Under Fire” [December 18], as well as the several other letters to the editor recently received from past employees and volunteers who worked at the town animal shelter.
I do not know Wendy Altieri personally, but through people I do know and respect who have worked at the shelter, I believe she is a highly qualified individual whose role in caring for resident animals at the shelter is critical. As a licensed veterinary technician, she can do much to prevent and/or treat the myriad possible illnesses and injuries that befall animals who enter or live in a shelter environment. It must be remembered that the town animal shelter is just that, a “shelter,” and the animals who must live there should be cared for in the best way possible. But the town has now decided to let Ms. Altieri go.
The argument here is over money and proper management. How anyone can possibly suggest that it would be less expensive to take each and every entering animal as well as every injured or ill animal to a local veterinary for examination or treatment is beyond my belief. Think about the cost of transportation, the cost of employee time to deliver the animals and wait for them to be examined and returned, the sheer cost of using private veterinaries, and how about the ongoing care for animals that require daily treatment or medication. Are they going to be left at the vets, or just ignored and left to suffer at the shelter?
According to your published article, the bill to remove Ms. Altieri from the payroll was introduced to the Town Board by board member Anna Throne-Holst after meeting with Christine Russell, assistant town shelter supervisor. Donald Bambrick, the supervisor of the town shelter, who disagrees with the decision to remove the veterinary technician, was not even consulted about the proposed budget cut. Maybe Ms. Altieri should stay and Ms. Russell should go (that saves more money), and Ms. Throne-Holst should be given a lesson in management procedure.
This entire matter is extremely unsettling. Once again, I feel that our town officials, and some of those who work for the town, have demonstrated their lack of ability to properly perform the functions we pay them for and to reach sound management decisions.
ARTHUR E. TORRINGTONSouthampton