Ex-Dayton animal shelter director facing scrutiny in new Detroit job

Former Montgomery County Animal Resource Center Director Mark Kumpf just started a new job as animal control director in Detroit on Monday, and some already are calling for his ouster from that position.

Montgomery County commissioners fired Kumpf last December. That termination came after a year in which the local shelter faced criticism from animal rights advocates over euthanasia rates and independent consultants Team Shelter USA issued a critical report on shelter operations.

The county settled an employment dispute with Kumpf five months after the firing, agreeing to pay him 17 weeks of salary and provide him a neutral reference letter.

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In return, Kumpf agreed to withdraw an appeal he filed with the state’s Personnel Board of Review and not file further claims nor seek damages from the county related to his employment, according to the settlement agreement.

Kumpf is a defendant in a lawsuit filed in 2015 by the estate of Klonda Richey, who was mauled to death by a neighbor’s dogs in 2014. Richey, a Dayton resident, had complained to authorities about the dogs for months, to no avail.

petition page calling for Kumpf's firing from his new position in Detroit has been set up and is asking for signatures. As of early Tuesday, more than 6,200 visitors had signed the page.

“This says that a lot of people feel like this is not the right decision to make,” Theresa Sumpter, director of the Detroit Pit Crew Dog Rescue, told the Dayton Daily News on Tuesday.

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Sumpter said she learned of Kumpf’s hiring by Detroit on Friday. She searched references to his name on Google and said she was “astonished” at what she found.

“We don’t want Mark here in Detroit,” she said.

A message seeking comment was left for the communications director for the city of Detroit’s health department.

Speaking to the Detroit News in a story published Monday, the city’s Chief Operating Officer Hakim Berry had words of praise for Kumpf, saying he is confident in Kumpf, who has had a 30-year career in animal care.

“He’s taken the opportunity to drive around Detroit and get to know the area,” Berry told the Detroit News. “He was just head and shoulders different than anyone we’ve ever seen before. I think he’s really dedicated.”

He will earn $100,000 annually, the Detroit News said.

In Montgomery County, Kumpf’s annual salary in 2018 was $86,611.20.

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