A former Hartford animal control officer said she feels devastated and blindsided after getting laid off after 17 years on the job.
There were 42 people who received layoff notices on Wednesday, all part of Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin’s budget proposal to cut 100 city jobs.
Now thousands have signed a petition in support of Animal Control Officer Sherry DeGenova, who went to a job she loves on Wednesday, but was out of it just hours later.
"The worst thing was handing over my badge and my ID that I had had for almost 17 years. Devastating. There is no word to describe what it felt like. It was like I was giving myself away,” DeGenova said.
She and another one of her colleagues in the Animal Control Department are two of the 42 people who received layoff notices.
DeGenova said she has helped thousands of animals, and wants to continue to do so.
“It's my passion. It's who I am. It's what I am. It's my life,” DeGenova said.
Recognizing her efforts in the city, a petition was started online to ask the mayor to reconsider his decision.
There are already more than 4,000 signatures.
"We do need her. The animals have no protection right now and we are all devastated and heartbroken and we care and we need her,” said Laurel Cox.
During DeGenova’s tenure, she has worked tirelessly to reduce the number of strays in the city, and to reunite animals with their loved ones.
Now she can only hope she will be reunited with her job.
"I'm hoping it's not gone. I'm hoping I get a phone call saying ‘Sherry you got your job back’ and I will have tears of joy instead of tears of pain,” DeGenova said.
Her supporters are expected to come out in droves to Monday night’s City Council meeting.
To sign the petition, click here.
The deadline to adopt the budget is May 31.
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