The Fayette County Dog Shelter recently welcomed a new dog warden to take the place of Bob Pitakos, who retired from the position at the end of 2015.
Several weeks ago the Fayette County Commissioners accepted and appointed special deputy Bruce Denen to take over as dog warden. Pitakos, who served as warden for several years, retired according to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO). Denen said that Pitakos told him that he was ready to enjoy life and wanted to change things up after serving as the warden.
“We lost a great dog warden when (Pitakos) resigned, and that is a very difficult job,” Fayette County Commissioner Tony Anderson said recently. “(Pitakos) worked under the guidance of the (FCSO) and did some wonderful things for us. Dealing in that realm can be difficult, I can see where a lot of challenges can arise. It is hard to do what the law commands you to do and the neighbors want you to do. For instance, if you had to go pick up someone’s dog for a violation and then you see a little kid in the driveway and they say nothing but ‘Why did you take my dog?’ Bob lent a lot of authority as the dog warden and had some great interactions with people at Mars Petcare, and worked so well with other businesses and agencies around the county. He really is a fine fellow and we are going to miss him.”
Between Pitakos and the assistant dog warden Nelson Prater, the dog shelter has experienced a few changes, including the addition of a new play and exercise area outside of the shelter on Robinson Road in Washington Court House, which allows volunteers to further entertain the dogs.
“I believe we have found a good fit for (Denen) as he will be bringing quite a few years of management experience and skills to the dog shelter and will be very beneficial,” Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth said. “Nelson also does a fantastic job with the animals, caring for them in great ways. I think that with the two people we have in charge there, we are going to continue to have a strong shelter that will serve the people of Fayette County very well. This new dynamic will be good for the shelter. We had a great 2015 and I expect 2016 will be even better.”
After hearing about Pitakos retiring, Denen approached the administration at the FCSO to inquire about the position. He went through an interview and was selected to replace Pitakos.
“I am a Fayette County resident, born and raised here,” Denen said recently during an interview. “I have been an auxiliary deputy since 1997 and I am retired from the hospital where I served as director of information technology. Prior to that I was the administrator of the Fayette County EMS, which has since been taken over by Fayette County Memorial Hospital. I have not worked with animals like this before, but I was assured that (Prater) would be able to handle a lot of the important aspects of the job while I was being trained.”
Since his appointment on Jan. 19, Denen has been receiving training from Prater on the ins and outs of the position, including caring for the animals, paper work and other important tasks. Denen said that he needs to continue learning about the various laws and regulations that he has not been familiar with, but he appreciates that Stanforth and Chief Deputy Andy Bivens gave him the chance at the job and have faith that he can fulfill the duties as dog warden.
“The door is always open for residents to come and talk with me,” Denen said. “I am a people kind of person and that should help me in this position. There is still a lot for me to learn, such as the fact that the shelter depends on quite a bit of community support and donations. Nelson does a good job though and I am confident he will teach me well.”
The FCDS is located at 1550 Robinson Road and can be reached at (740) 335-6630. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with other hours being available upon request. Cost of adoption is anywhere from $26 to $76.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy