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New Fairfield Animal Control Officer Kim Kraska

New Fairfield Animal Control Officer Kim Kraska

Domestic animal control is closer to home in New Fairfield, now that town resident, Ms. Kim Kraska, has started in the new Animal Control Officer position. While the town had been part of a regional animal control for years, the decision to bring the position back to the town’s staff was made with both functional and economic reasons in mind.

Reportedly possessing a great rapport with animals, Kraska has had a long career with animals front and center. She’s served previously as an animal control officer in New York, has owned a dog grooming business for 11 years, and currently continues to pet sit for animals in the community. In her new role, Kraska is available to help with domestic pet issues and will be responsible for answering all animal calls, as well as the appropriate enforcement of all local ordinances and state statutes that are directly related to domestic and wild animals. Kraska pointed out that she will primarily be handling domestic animals and will likely be referring wildlife issues to other appropriate divisions, plus will help residents with wildlife calls with appropriate rehabilitation facility references. In addition, she is responsible for performing field and office work and maintaining the New Fairfield Animal Shelter. Another positive aspect of bringing the position back into the town will be Kraska’s ability to perform duties that were unavailable with the regional service, such as providing assistance with a trap-neuter-release program for feral cats.

Her goals are to help spread awareness about the importance of vaccinations, especially rabies, and licensing pets. She’s already moving the domestic pet needle locally, having created a town Facebook page to help track and find lost pets. “I hope the page continues to grow and that it becomes the ‘go to’ place for all missing and found pets in the area,” Kraska says. Kraska, who has three dogs–Boo, Carly, and Cheeko–is “most excited about meeting new people and their furry family members. To keeping things positive and giving the community a sense of comfort to let them know that I am a phone call away if they need help.”

New Fairfield’s town officials are welcoming Kraska, with New Fairfield Selectman, Ms. Khris Hall, saying “I am delighted to have supported the hiring of Kim Kraska as New Fairfield’s Animal Control Officer.” Hall pointed out that, living in New Fairfield, Kraska’s responses will be much quicker than town residents have seen in years, as the regional office was based in Bridgewater. First Selectman, Ms. Pat Del Monaco, says that, “Kim is an experienced Animal Control Officer with a true love and respect for animals, and I look forward to working with her!” Kraska also said that the New Fairfield Animal Shelter staff “have been very warm and welcoming!”

In addition to speedier response times that the town had been experiencing, Del Monaco and Hall are happy with the financial check of bringing the position back to the town’s payroll. Hall explained that, “By state statute, all towns are required to either have their own animal control function or participate in a regional animal control organization…Billing for those services was done on the basis of town population, which meant we paid a fairly hefty fee–over $80,000 a year–for very poor service.”  Though the switch has meant purchasing and outfitting a vehicle, the long-term financial gains will add up. “All in all, I expect that we will provide a more well-rounded and robust service to the Town,” Del Monaco said of the position.

If you are in need of animal help, please contact Kim Kraska at 203-885-4417 or at kkraska@newfairfield.org.

By Sarah Opdahl