Hundreds of supporters packed Hartford city hall on Monday night in support of an animal control officer who was laid off due to budget cuts.
From an online petition, to a march, to speaking at the city council meeting, they are doing everything they can to get the attention of city leaders and get her job back.
Sherry D’Genova was laid off last week, one week before her 17th anniversary with the city. Her layoff was one of 42 announced as the city looks to climb out of a massive budget gap.
“I don’t even know how I’ve made it through the last week to be honest with you,” D’Genova said. “To me it’s more than just a job, it’s who I am.”
Since news of her layoff, the rescue community is rallying behind her. They have started a petition that now has more than 10,000 signatures. They marched to city hall on Monday night in an effort to get city councilors to listen about why they say letting her go would be a danger to the city.
The cuts leave Hartford with two animal control officers, one of whom is on medical leave.
A former Hartford dispatcher who spoke at the meeting said that is inadequate and unacceptable.
D’Genova said saving her job would actually save the city money because of what they will have to spend on euthanasia fees, boarding fees and overtime pay without her.
City councilors said they are mulling it over and have yet to vote on a budget that includes a lot of controversial cuts.
“A lot of these things, we’re sort of stuck with,” Hartford City Councilor Larry Deutsch said. “But there are other ways than cutting these jobs.”
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, who is calling for the cuts, said it is not a reflection of individual performance. There are just tough decisions that have to be made.
D’Genova’s supporters said they plan to be at every city council meeting until they vote on a budget.