County commissioners officially fire animal shelter director

Montgomery County Commissioners voted Thursday to terminate longtime Animal Resources Center Director Mark Kumpf’s employment with the county.

Kumpf was terminated involuntarily, according to records obtained by the Dayton Daily News.

Kumpf’s removal eases the way for 2019 “to be a transformative year” for the facility, Montgomery County Administrator Michael Colbert said earlier this week when announcing Kumpf’s employment would end by Friday.

EARLIER REPORT: Longtime director out at embattled animal shelter

Montgomery County’s parting with Kumpf will put the embattled shelter on a new path to improve the outcome of animals in its care, animal welfare advocates say.

“It is a long and needed move in the right direction,” said Blake Jordan director/community outreach for the Miami Valley Pit Crew Rescue, Inc. “The most we can hope for is the beginning of policy change, not only in the way they handle the intake of dogs, but also their community outreach.”

MORE: Animal shelter meeting resets conversation between critics, Montgomery County

The ARC has drawn scrutiny — peaking in recent months — from animal welfare advocates about the number of animals put to death at the facility. The shelter has also been subject to lawsuits — including court cases alleging neglect in preventing the dog-mauling death of Klonda Richey in 2014 and the destruction of records afterward in the case, to a more recent claim that a companion animal was put to death with little effort to find the owner.

The departure of Kumpf, ARC director since 2006, was addressed during personnel actions at a closed Thursday morning meeting before commissioners voted that afternoon. Last week, the county confirmed Kumpf was not reporting to work, having filed a workers’ compensation claim.

MORE: Critics target Montgomery Co. Animal Resource Center for animal deaths

“We heard the community’s concerns, and we are making the necessary changes to address them,” Colbert said. “Our primary goal is to improve our shelter operations, so that we can better serve our citizens and meet the needs of the animals in our care.”

Consultants with Team Shelter USA gave the ARC a top-to-bottom review during the last week of November but have yet to issue a final report, which will be implemented by a Bob Gruhl, the new interim director named to the job by Colbert last week.

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