Muzzle Puzzle

Why is Animal Control displaying a bunker mentality?

At about 3:30 p.m., Meddick received a call from Don Oxley, the director of the county Health Care Agency (HCA), of which Animal Control is a part. He told Meddick that he would make the names available, but he first wanted to inform the panelists their names would be public. The next day he faxed her a list: Dr. William Grant, chairman of the Animal Control Advisory Board; Fred Maley, city manager for Villa Park (one of the 20 cities that contracts with the county for Animal Control services); Ava Park, president of Orange County People for Animals; and David Riley, chief financial officer for the HCA. According to the fax, the fifth panelist "has decided not to continue in our process" and a replacement was being sought.

Oxley's fax was even in tone, but sources with the HCA reported a great deal of finger pointing over the missteps. There was one final fiasco to come, however.

Reacting to questions from activists, the county counsel's office on June 11 ruled that Grant should not be permitted to take part in the selection process. Because he contracts with the shelter to do spaying and neutering, his involvement in the selection of a preson influential in awarding such contracts would be a conflict of interest, according to county lawyers. (The ruling, said county spokeswoman Diane Thomas, applies on to Grant's role in the selection of a new director and does not affect his position as chairman of the advisory board.)

The Weekly placed calls to McDornan and Foster. One of the questions was to be: Why is Animal Control still so defensive, still displaying such a bunker mentality?

Neither man returned the calls.

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