Animal control officer loses job, keeps dog, for now
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org March 15, 2012 4:18PM
Joliet resident Bryan Jones, formerly an animal control officer with Joliet Township Animal Control, holds a 3-year-old long-haired Chihuahua at the center of the dispute that cost him his job. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 17, 2012 8:17AM
JOLIET — A Joliet Township animal control officer who was suspended for taking home a dog not yet cleared for adoption from the animal control center without telling his supervisor has lost his job.
But he still has the dog, at least for now.
Township officials gave Bryan Jones the options of quitting or being fired after he took home a Chihuahua that staff had deemed “aggressive.” Jones refused to bring it back when told to do so.
The reason, Jones said, was that the dog was afraid of a vet technician at the center and he was worried the tech would put the dog to sleep. Jones does not believe the dog is aggressive.
Jones spent Thursday trying to reach a lawyer to discuss his legal options for keeping the dog. He said he called Township Supervisor Dan Vera just before the township’s 4 p.m. deadline Thursday and asked for another day before giving them his decision.
“(Vera) said he can’t take it any further,” Jones said.
Because Jones still has the dog, Vera said Thursday he and the board will talk with the township attorney to determine the next step.
“I’m terminated now,” Jones said. “I just want to make sure nothing happens to (the dog). All I want to do is adopt this dog. That’s all I’m asking for.”
On Feb. 27, Jones said he saw the dog with a “caution: I may bite” sign on its cage. A vet technician said it was aggressive and had snapped at a customer.
Jones said he played with the dog that week without incident. Fearing the dog would be put to sleep, Jones took it home with him on March 2.
He did not notify anyone he took the dog but wanted to see how it interacted with his own pets.
On March 5, Animal Control Director Sarah Gimbel sent Jones a text asking if he had the Chihuahua. Jones wrote that he did.
Jones kept the dog that week while he was off work. On March 9, Gimbel called Jones and told him to bring the dog back.
Jones said he told Gimbel he wanted to adopt the dog. Gimbel told him how much it would cost and called a veterinarian clinic to make an appointment for the dog.
Then Gimbel told Vera what was going on.
Vera said he asked Gimbel if the Chihuahua was available for adoption, and she said that it was not, but was still being processed.
“I said, ‘Sarah, I’m giving you a direct order right now as the township supervisor ... that (dog) is the property of Joliet Township,’ ” Vera said Wednesday. “‘You need to call (Jones) and tell him that dog needs to be back in our facility by 5 o’clock.’ ”
She called Jones and conveyed the message, but he did not return the dog.