New Animal Control administrator hired
November 27, 2015
As Clay Coleman contemplated applying for a new job working with animals, he considered two things: stay in his current field of work or find something that inspires him to wake up every morning. He ended up choosing the latter.
Coleman, the newly hired Summit County Animal Control administrator, admits he was a unique candidate because he had never held a position with an animal control agency. Animal Control is a multi-purpose department that deals with dog licenses, pet adoptions, the animal shelter, animal cruelty violators and works with local animal groups.
"I looked at jobs and I came across the animal control position and I thought, ‘that could be fun, that could be something I would like to do,’" Coleman said. "It is a night-and-day difference from where I was, but this may be where I want to be for the rest of my life because I love
Coleman began his tenure as administrator on Nov. 9, occupying a position that has remained vacant for nearly five years. In 2011, Brian Bellamy, Summit County Human Resources director, took on the role as interim director when the position was consolidated with his to save the county money. Coleman receives an annual salary of $63,500.
Bellamy said as he considered applicants for the position he actively sought candidates with a business background over those in the animal control industry. Nearly 20 applied.
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"We run a business. We want to make sure there is good return on what the county gives to us. It’s a great hire but atypical for animal control," Bellamy said. "People typically look to hire those who have been in the business and who know dogs and cats. What we thought is: we want a business a manager because we can teach them how to deal with dogs and cats. We wanted someone who had excellent business and customer service skills."
Coleman recently left his position as vice president and branch manager of American Bank of Commerce, in Heber City. Coleman, a South Summit High School alumni, was as a teller in Kamas while he pursued a degree in communications from the University of Utah.
"I played the game and worked my way up," Coleman said. "As I was contemplating my future and wondering which direction I should go, I began wondering where the banking industry was going. I had to figure either I’m either staying in or I’m going to find something that I want to do that is fun."
Coleman is one of five Animal Control employees hired in 2015, fully staffing the facility for the first time since 2011. Coleman joins shelter attendants Trina Buckner and Martha Stembridge, and animal control officers Cathy Nye and Frank Root.
An expansion of the 2,056-square-foot facility is also currently underway and scheduled to be complete sometime in January. The building, located at 1745 Hoytsville Road, sits on a seven-acre lot. The renovations, that will nearly double the facility, will provide secure holding spaces for dogs, a recreation area for cats and a much-needed quarantine area, among other improvements.
"It’s almost as if all the stars have aligned," Coleman said.
Coleman lives in Peoa with his wife, Mckenzie, their five children, a dog, eight chickens and four ducks. At a recent County Council meeting and said he is looking forward to helping animal control move in a positive direction, especially concerning enforcement and compliance of off-leash animals.
"What I have been told is it may not be received gracefully, but it is helping people and it is bringing people into compliance," Coleman said. "I think that is the most important thing. As dog owners we want them to run free, but we live in a populated area and when dog bites happen it’s sad. This is not a punishment for the dog, but it is to keep them safe and it’s a courtesy because some people just don’t love animals like we do."
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