Replacing Cheryl Baitsholts affects every human and animal in Berne

To the Editor:

This is the letter I’ve sent to the Berne Town board, asking that it be read aloud in its entirety at the upcoming board meeting on Feb. 12, 2020.

It has been brought to my attention that Cheryl Baitholts has been replaced as dog control officer for the town of Berne. I am very shocked and appalled by this decision. It is a disservice to everyone in the town and beyond!

It is a decision that affects every human and animal. We were not part of this decision and never would have supported it and we don’t now. In addition, the method of informing a 13-year employee by email that they no longer have a job is completely unprofessional and inhumane. I want answers!

I want to tell you all about Cheryl and how I met her. In the spring of 2019, I decided to sell my house and move an hour south to the lovely, quiet, quaint Hilltowns. I put my house on the market and it sold quickly.

Within the month of waiting for the closing, my stepfather died unexpectedly after a very short battle with cancer at the age of 52. My family was crushed! Days later, in April, I had to close on my house.

Moving to the Hilltowns was a breath of fresh air! Unfortunately, one day, just a few months later in August, while I was running errands, my rescue dog got spooked by a neighbor doing target practice. I came home to no dog!

She had clawed a window fan from a window and jumped. That window happened to be a second-story window. She was gone! I freaked out!

Within the hour, my entire family, some friends, and some woman I had never met before showed up to my house. She was there with us for well over an hour talking about the situation and a plan of action.

For four days, 24 hours a day, that woman texted with me, talked to me, listened to me, answered every ridiculous question and concern I had, would pick me up and drive around so I wasn’t doing it alone, used social media and her amazing network she has built to help spread the word locally, gave me suggestions and advice, and gave me hope when I was losing mine time and time again.

That woman was Cheryl Baitsholts and I will forever be grateful for her kindness during one of my worst nightmares!

My dog is my world; I don’t have children but she is my child! Those four days she was gone, I did not work, eat, or sleep. When I got the call from someone local that she had wandered into their yard, I was shaking and very emotional. It was the moment I had dreamed about for days!

As quickly as I arrived at the address where she was, Cheryl was seconds behind me! She didn’t know I was there yet, but she ran up that driveway shaking with anticipation herself at finding my lost family member.

That is something that is not a qualification that someone can put on paper. Cheryl's heart and soul go into her work and it is so very genuine! She is our person out here.

Last but not least, I demand she be reinstated to her rightful and well-deserved position as dog control officer for the town of Berne. Her experience, tenure, knowledge of the area, the properties, the people, the animals, and their behavior when lost is just absolutely amazing and something you cannot put a price on.

We want Cheryl, we need Cheryl. They say sometimes you don’t choose a pet, but a pet chooses you. Well, we didn’t choose Cheryl, she chose us and now we’re choosing her.

In conclusion, under the Freedom of Information Law, I request the following information:

— On what day and by whom was the decision made to give the job of DCO within the town to Jody Jansen?;

— Please provide a copy of Jody Jansen’s résumé, employment application, and qualifications for the DCO job within the town;

— Does the town have equipment necessary for the DCO’s use, including but not limited to a catch pole, crates, traps, etc.? If not, does the DCO have the necessary equipment mentioned above?;

— How many employees are employed by the town?;

— How many employees employed by the town live within the town lines?;

— Does the town currently have a contract for holding of dogs? If so, who is the contract with?; and

— What happens to the dogs after the five-day hold?

I look forward to your response and look forward to meeting you all at the February town board meeting.

Alene Mack


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