Longtime animal control supervisor retires
For more than two decades Delores Ovard was part of Summit County’s animal control services, rising in the ranks from field officer to field supervisor throughout her 22-year career.
Ovard managed the day-to-day operations for Summit County Animal Control, juggling numerous responsibilities at the shelter. She worked to ensure the public and their animals were protected, making considerable strides during the last four years.
"We’ve worked hard and we’ve managed to pull Animal Control together and get it going really well. It’s at a good point," Ovard said before adding, "and that’s what I wanted to see before I retired."
The 73-year-old Coalville native retired from her post as field supervisor Sept. 16. A replacement has not been hired.
Ovard chose to leave Animal Control at a time when the operation is on the cusp of expanding. All the staff positions that remained vacant for several years have been filled and the shelter will soon add more than $750,000 worth of renovations.
However, some of that growth has made Ovard apprehensive about the future and direction of the animal control services.
"I don’t know where it’s going from here," she said. "Our department is doing well and we got some great people in there, but it seems like we’ve had some people come in that don’t understand animal control."
Ovard says it was time to walk away.
"I’ve really enjoyed my job. I’ve met some very interesting people, some friendly people and some angry people," Ovard said. "But it’s just time."
Ovard joined the county’s Animal Control staff in 1993 as a field officer because she "just loves animals," she said. Within a few years and at the urging of her superiors, she went through training to become a field supervisor in 1995.
During her time on the job, Ovard has dealt with cases involving exotic animals, escaped pythons, aggressive dogs and livestock deaths. In 2006 she had her most memorable encounter when a Silver Creek resident’s wallaroo, which is a large Australian kangaroo, escaped. The wallaroo was caught and the resident cited.
"It’s all been interesting," she said. "We do have to take animals sometimes when they continue to be a threat to the public, but we don’t like to do that. That’s the last resort. We would rather move the animals to a rescue and see if they can rehabilitated and given a better home someplace else. I’ve been yelled at, cussed at. But I wouldn’t change any of it."
Throughout the years, the incidents reported to animal control have gone from cases involving livestock to more dog-related complaints, Ovard said.
In response, several changes have been made to the Animal Control Code under Ovard’s tenure, including substantial amendments to the leash, barking and tethering ordinances. The county’s leash laws now include the use of electronic collars and new language addressing at-large animals. Ovard said she hopes the changes are for the better.
"The leash law is the big one," Ovard said. "And it’s had a major impact. I would like to thank the Park City Police Department. They have really been wonderful this year and have really put forth the effort in getting this leash law under control."
However, it hasn’t been an easy task recently, or ever, Ovard said. As supervisor of the county’s entire Animal Control services, she had to find a balance throughout the years to effectively enforce the laws in different parts of the county.
"With having two different atmospheres on the east and west, I’ve had to be able to make people happy on both sides and to let them know what they can and can’t do," she said. "But I would have hated it to have been any other way. Animal Control is in a good place right now and so I feel good about walking away."
Jennifer McDonald, a self-described lifelong Republican, was selected as the Summit County Republican Party chair last week.