By GIB SNYDER
OBSERVER City Editor
You never know what you will find when you go dumpster diving. A city resident had an idea something was amiss recently when she saw city of Dunkirk Animal Control Officer Steve Purol putting garbage bags into a dumpster behind the Family Dollar on Fourth Street.
Pictured is the dumpster behind Family Dollar on Fourth Street where dead dogs were dumped by Dunkirk Animal Control Officer Steve Purol.
Pat Mleczko, who works at the VA Clinic adjacent to the Family Dollar told the OBSERVER she was curious about what Purol had put in the dumpster and set about finding out. With the help of co-workers, Mleczko said she got in the dumpster and found two dead dogs, among other animal-related refuse.
Mayor Anthony J. Dolce said the practice, while sounding bad, is what is recommended by the state Ag and Market division. Except the part about using private dumpsters.
"It is one of their recommendations to double bag the dead animals. I know how this is going to sound, but this is straight from the source; double bag them, tag them, and they are to be disposed of in either a city-owned dumpster or the back of a packer," he explained.
At this point however, the city does not own a dumpster.
"The beginning of this year DPW Director (Tony) Gugino and I decided that they weren't necessary," Dolce said. "It saves us anywhere from $3-4,000 a year. Obviously the use or private dumpsters is highly frowned upon."
Dolce said for now the plan is to have Purol put the double-bagged dead animals into the back of a city packer to which he will have access.
As for any disciplinary action against Purol, Dolce said that was up to the Common Council.
"The ACO position comes under council's purview as far as any actions that may or may not be taken. I know they talked to a representative from the state Ag and Market division and I do not know where that went or what their thoughts are," he explained. "I'm not sure how they're going to handle the situation; if they decide to take any disciplinary action."
Police Chief David Ortolano said dispatch received a call about regarding the allegation Purol was seen dumping the bags.
"The information we took on it we documented in an incident report and that documentation has been turned over to the Common Council for their followup," the chief stated, adding it would be up to Family Dollar to press charges.
Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak was asked what, if anything, council was going to do concerning the situation.
"There is nothing to discuss at this time," Kiyak replied. "We plan on addressing it next week formally so until then it's something we're all looking into. It's currently being investigated and we will have an idea once council gets a chance to get together on this."
City Attorney Ron Szot said he knew of the allegation of an incident and that council was looking into it. He was asked if his input had been sought.
"Nothing in specific, just more on process versus anything specific," he replied. "I don't think they've ever come across a situation where they were sort of looking into allegations or an incident. They're looking for some input, some suggestions, relative to a process they could follow more than anything specifically regarding any particulars of this incident."
Reached by phone, Purol said he had no comment at this time.
Council holds its next meeting Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall.
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