Authority rules against Procopio

The executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County was ordered to pay a civil penalty as the result of a complain

The executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County was ordered to pay a civil penalty as the result of a complain

September 06, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

Now that the Washington County Animal Control Authority has ruled against her in a barking dog complaint, the executive director of the local humane society said she isn't sure if she will appeal the decision.

"The process we just went through cost taxpayers' money and an appeal would cost us even more," Maria Procopio said in a faxed response to the Thursday decision.

The authority members ordered Procopio to pay a civil penalty of $25 and to equip her dogs with citronella collars and ensure they are wearing those collars whenever no one is at home, the decision said.


Procopio, who lives at 17623 Stone Valley Drive, said she still believes the situation is about a disgruntled ex-shelter employee and that woman's next door neighbor, not her barking dogs.

Testimony heard Aug. 22 at an authority hearing led to allegations that Procopio was getting special treatment because of her position.

Contacted Thursday by telephone regarding the decision, Jane Urciolo said things have been better with Procopio's three dogs since the Aug. 22 hearing.

"The dogs haven't been that bad and I have noticed that Maria has been home more lately," Urciolo said. Urciolo is the former shelter employee to whom Procopio referred in her response.

Attempts to reach James Ardinger, the complainant in the case, were unsuccessful Thursday.

Both Ardinger, of 17611 Stone Valley Drive, and Urciolo, of 17619 Stone Valley Drive, said at the Aug. 22 hearing no one ever came out to investigate the allegations.

"I understand that calls were made to the animal control agency ... how can (the officers) not survey the circumstances and fix the problem?" asked Gerald Ditto, an authority member, at the hearing.

Procopio said at the hearing that the problem was fixed when her officers told her of the complaints. She said the officers told her in her office at the shelter on Maugansville Road, not at her home.

"There's the problem ... they didn't go out to your house," Ditto said at the hearing.

Procopio testified she has a Labrador retriever, a basset hound/beagle mix and a beagle. She said she and her husband work long hours and the dogs are often home alone with access to the yard through a doggy door.

Authority Chairman Tom DiGirolamo issued the written opinion Thursday. If there is an appeal of the decision, it would be made to Washington County Circuit Court.

In addition to DiGirolamo and Ditto, the other members of the voluntary board are Daniel A. Murphy, Kelli J. Boyer and Rollan T. Myers Jr.

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