Animal control officer working at community center

Diane Welch informs young people about an owl she is holding.

Unexplained reason for changes

City animal control officer Diane Welch, on administrative leave since July, returned to work Aug. 31, but her location has changed.

She is no longer at police headquarters, Mystic and Summer, but works under Health & Human Services, 27 Maple St. A resident told YourArlington she saw Welch this week at the renovated community center. Others posting to the Arlington List Facebook group on Sept. 13 say Welch’s job site has changed.

Police Chief Juliann Flaherty and Social Services Chief Christine Bongiorno were asked on September 13 to confirm the claims and explain the reason for the changes.

Administrative explanation

Bongiorno responded later on September 14 to explain the administrative changes, but not the reason for them.

She wrote: “At this time, HHS [Health & Human Services] will house the ACO [animal-control officer] and provide direct supervision of the position.

“The budget and infrastructure that support the ACO will remain the responsibility of the Police Department, but the day-to-day management of the role will rest with HHS in an effort to streamline the specific duties imposed by law on the ACO.”

All animal-related service calls will continue to be directed directly to the Arlington Police dispatcher at 781-646-1212, she wrote.

Additionally, she wrote, residents can visit the ACO website for non-emergency information, adding that the site is being updated.

“This transfer is still ongoing,” she wrote, “and we are working to manage this transition. All animal calls are being managed and more information will be provided to the community once the new site is live. operational.”

“Personal business”

YourArlington followed, asking the reasons for these changes. To date, because Welch’s furlough was considered a personnel matter, officials have so far declined to elaborate on the reasons for the furlough or return. Welch declined to comment for release.

On Sept. 12, Chief Flaherty told YourArlington that Welch’s duties remained the same, but she did not mention that her workplace had changed.

The issue surfaced on social media on July 8, when some posters claimed without evidence that Welch, a popular Arlington figure, had been fired or fired. Both were wrong.

Flaherty, who was on vacation at the time, confirmed on July 18 that Welch had been placed on paid administrative leave.

Rosalind Shaw, an Arlington resident, shared a letter to the editor of YourArlington that appears to express some of the opinions of many city residents. He said, in part:

“In her time with the Arlington Police Department, Constable Welch has been an excellent ACO. Arlington residents love her for the combination of knowledge, skill, courage, compassion and integrity that she brings to her intricate work….

“I hope APD can work with her to address all the issues they have encountered with compassion and without double standards… Diane Welch is a treasure who deserves APD’s full support, be it financial , administrative or technical. And we Arlingtonians deserve the kind of ACO she is.

Problem reappeared twice

The issue has reappeared twice since July, both on Arlington’s mailing list. In August, posters called for support for Welch and comments supporting her poured in. That month, YourArlington agreed with one of the posters to release statements of support, if any, for publication as long as a supporter provided a full name. The publisher has received no statement./

On the Arlington List Facebook group on Sept. 12, a resident requested an update on the matter and led to a report being released that day on Welch’s reinstatement.

Board member Diane Mahon reported that City Manager Sandy Pooler told her Welch “has returned to duty and will be receiving animal calls through police dispatch. She will begin taking animal calls.” animals this week.”


September 12, 2022: Animal control officer returns to work after furlough
July 18, 2022: animal control officer on leave with pay, chief confirms
October 8, 2019:Welch Shares State’s Top Animal Officer Award for 2019

This news summary was published on Thursday, September 15, 2022.

Jill E. Washington