Board selects shelter leader

GREENFIELD — The interim director of Greenfield-Hancock County Animal Management was appointed Tuesday to lead the department going forward.

Paul Miller of Greenfield stepped in to lead the department after longtime director Jeff Leffel resigned in February.

On Tuesday, Miller was appointed the department’s director by Greenfield Board of Works and Public Safety.

Animal management, 809 S. State St., serves the entire county and is responsible for sheltering lost and stray dogs and cats, finding families to adopt animals and investigating cases of animal cruelty. The facility houses about 25 dogs and 40 cats regularly.

Miller will manage a $480,000 budget and oversee five employees. He will be responsible for directing the daily operations of the department and enforcing all city, county and state laws regarding the treatment of animals.

Mayor Chuck Fewell said Miller has led the department well in the past few months and is well-poised to assume the post permanently.

Leffel, who led the department for more than six years, stepped down Feb. 28 to take a new job at the city’s wastewater treatment plant, and Miller then begin filling in as interim director.

Miller moved to Greenfield in July and has been with animal management for about nine months, he said.

Before moving to Greenfield, Miller lived in Virginia and served as a military police officer in the U.S. Air Force for eight years.

Fewell said he’s evaluated Miller’s leadership style during the past three months and feels he’s a good fit for the position.

“Paul’s military background brought some structure to the department,” he said.

Miller said he was looking for a career similar to law enforcement but didn’t want to be a police officer. Working at animal management allowed him to do some of the work he enjoyed in the past.

“We’re still on the road, dealing with the public,” he said. “Animal management is the closest you can get without dealing with all the headaches of being a cop.”

Miller, whose starting salary is $49,995, has several goals he’d like to accomplish as animal management director, including the lofty goal of moving to a new facility.

As the city and county continue to grow, animal management will need to grow, too, he said. The current facility’s capacity is 43 cats and 44 dogs.

There’s a lot of work to be done if there were to be a new facility, but Miller said he’s looking forward to working with city officials to explore the option.

“As the city grows, I want to help the shelter grow so it can accommodate everything the city and county need,” he said. “The main objective is to get us into a new facility.”

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.