Mayor accused of intimidating animal shelter volunteers

ST.GEORGE- In the wake of last month’s revelations of neglect and mismanagement at the city animal shelter, two volunteers at P.A.W.S., a no-kill animal shelter in Saint George, have now said that Mayor Dan McArthur visited P.A.W.S. the day before the allegations became public. They said he asked them to discourage pet-rescue workers from coming forward with their allegations because he did not want to be embarrassed in the upcoming mayoral election. McArthur is running against St. George City Councilman Jon Pike.

“He was there to get us to be on his side and to stop the ‘fanatics,’ as he called them,” P.A.W.S. volunteer, Martha Kirk told St. George News, “he was trying to discourage people from talking,” she said.

McArthur’s visit to P.A.W.S. occurred only hours before the council meeting on July 26, where dozens of pet-rescue workers filled city council chambers hoping to reveal their concerns about the shelter to the mayor and council. The mayor declined to open the meeting to allow public comment, citing procedure and time-constraints.

After the meeting adjourned, residents and rescue workers stayed behind and shared their concerns about the shelter with St. George News. Many of them said that they had not come forward earlier because they had felt intimidated by city officials, and feared reprisal for speaking; however, McArthur has since said, several times, that he doesn’t understand why anybody would have such fears.

Agene Mills, the other volunteer who witnessed McArthur’s visit to P.A.W.S. said that she felt that his intention was to intimidate them. “We did, both Martha and I thought that, but we were very honest and told him what we thought.”

“He hemmed and hawed,” Kirk said. “He said he didn’t want this controversy to interrupt his reelection.”

Both ladies said that McArthur referred to the pet-rescue workers as fanatics. Kirk said that McArthur told them “there are fanatics out there who will get up and say terrible things.”

When McArthur was questioned about the purpose of his visit to P.A.W.S. that day, he originally said that his intentions were to inspect a walkway installed by his company, McArthur Welding, to thank the volunteers, and to ask them questions about how their no-kill facility functions. “I’m one of those people who just likes to thank people,” he said.

However, when confronted with Kirk and Mills’ version of events, McArthur did not deny that it was true. “I can’t go back and say I said it or didn’t say it,” he said, and that he felt his meaning may have been misunderstood.

“If I said it is an election year – and I don’t know what I said in that particular case – but it is an election year,” he said, “and I’m running for office. I’d like to be reelected.” It is natural to want to calm people down when running for reelection, McArthur said. “The whole idea is not to upset people, to calm down what you can.”

The Mayor at first defended his use of the term “fanatics,” to describe the people who exposed the shelter conditions. “I believe you would probably feel when you were talking to these people that they’re very fanatical about that situation – more so than anything else,” he said.

Later in the interview, the mayor admitted that he could see how the word might be seen as offensive.

Agene Mills said that people at P.A.W.S. had approached McArthur before and had told him what they thought did need to be changed. “Then all of the sudden they said, ‘well we didn’t know anything was going on,’ or ‘why didn’t anyone tell us.’ But we have. We told him,” Mills said.

McArthur has denied having any knowledge about the poor conditions of the animal shelter, prior to when the allegations were recently made public. In fact, at last Wednesday’s city council meeting, he publicly chastised those in attendance for not bringing the allegations to his attention sooner.

City-council candidate Tara Dunn, who had worked together with Kris Neil and other rescue-workers to bring public attention to the conditions at the shelter, said she was outraged when she heard of McArthur’s visit to the volunteers.

“It speaks to the profound self-serving nature of an elected official when he calls-out volunteers for not speaking up, after he personally made sure they were intimidated,” she said.

“I’m disappointed, if that happened,” mayoral candidate and city-councilman Jon Pike said, “and it sounds like it did.”

“What is a fanatic anyways,” asked Pike, “someone who believes strongly in something?” Pike said he wondered if McArthur would label somebody who was very passionate about their religion as a religious fanatic. “Frankly, it’s kind of offensive and I just don’t think it’s helpful,” he said.

Pike had negotiated with the mayor and the council to allow the rescue-workers to speak at the meeting on July 26. He said he believed they had reached an agreement to allow them to publicly tell the council about the conditions at the shelter.

“At that meeting, I was caught off guard,” he said, referring to McArthur’s decision not to allow for public comment.

McArthur said he believes he was somehow misunderstood by the volunteers.

“I don’t remember everything I said and I certainly wouldn’t say that I didn’t say it,” he said, and that he sometimes doesn’t choose his words as carefully as he should. “I am who I am. I’m a welder with a title,” he said. “I’d certainly go back and apologize to those two ladies if I’ve offended them or caused them to believe that they can’t speak,” he said. “I believe that every person has an opinion and it’s important.”

Martha Kirk does not agree. She said he didn’t want people to speak out about the shelter conditions. “He didn’t want this controversy to interrupt his reelection,” she said. “He thinks the city is his.”

Related posts

Ed. note: Name correction made – Martha Kirk; added links.

Email: mflynn@stgnews.com
Twitter: @mflynnSTGN

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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117 Comments

  • ladybugavenger August 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    oh, come on Mayor!!! You want me to believe that you are a thankful person and that’s one of the reasons you went to the PAWS shelter hours before the allegations were going to be made public? That you are just a nice guy that’s wants to be re-elected? Well Mayor, I don’t believe you. If you were a thankful person, you would have thanked them long before any allegations were made. I believe you were trying to intimidate anyone you could to not speak up and it didn’t work thanks to the courageous people that spoke up. They spoke up about their concerns and they spoke up about yours. Your concern is yourself and getting re-elected. Their concern was the shelter and your intimidation. Thank you courageous people!!!

  • Tyler August 6, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    … fake clown! Without a doubt, he needs out of office. If he’s capable of trying to front to the public so he doesn’t get embarrassed, imagine what all he has done in the past!

    Ed. ellipsis

  • Crazydoglady August 6, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    I’m so glad that the conditions of the shelter and the lies of Mayor Dan McArthur have been exposed. All keep thinking is, “IT’S ABOUT TIME!” I hope the upcoming election will tell Mayor Dan what the people of St George want in a canidate and it’s not his values and more of his lies!! Go Counselman Pike!!

    • Want Change August 6, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      I’d rather see Baca as next mayor. I think Pike and McArthur are too much alike.

      • ibeducks August 8, 2013 at 7:04 pm

        McArthur-Pike= mirror image

  • Bully Dan August 6, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Bully tactics by a mayor who is used to telling, selling. For someone who responds to questions with “Are you from Dixie”, everyone should remember the bully tactic with these comments“I’m tired of people coming from outside the area and bringing their prejudice and hates and dislikes and trying to throw it on us,” and “If people have a problem with the Dixie name, it is a problem they brought with them from elsewhere.” http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2012/12/20/kessler-samodt-dixie-ites-dead-set-on-name-retention-at-sorenson-forum-stgnews-videocast/

    • Bully Dan August 6, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      Correction… telling, not selling. A true public servant will sell his ideas to his constituents on the merits of how they are beneficial. A politician concerned with self-interest will only tell you what he’d going to do, or often with mayor and council, what they did. Buying the carousel before making the public aware is one example of gross abuse of position.

      • Bully Dan August 6, 2013 at 6:43 pm

        Proof: The mayor declined to open the meeting to allow public comment, citing procedure and time-constraints.

        • Don't Bully Dan August 6, 2013 at 10:10 pm

          City Council Meetings are held run that way in every city I have lived in. Usually before a Council Meeting the City Council will meet in what is called a ‘Planning Meeting’, where they plan out and decide upon the agenda for the upcoming City Council Meeting. Mayor McAurthur handled the it correctly by not letting the meeting to be hijacked by the citizens who showed up and wanted to force their agenda upon the City Council. Mayor McAurthur should be commended for doing the right thing and opening the next meeting to the public.

          • Bully Dan August 7, 2013 at 9:18 am

            Since when has the mayor opened any meeting for public input? I made attempts to voice concerns to the mayor and council members. None responded. They govern this city like a dictatorship, making decisions without public input/approval (buying carousel, spending another million dollars to purchase electric theater – no public input, making decisions to destroy landmarks) and acting as if their views and comments represent everyone. Anywhere else, these people would not have even seen a second term in office, because most people want a democracy not a dictatorship controlled by a handful of power hungry people.

          • DoubleTap August 7, 2013 at 10:20 am

            Really??? Then why did he negotiate with Jon Pike to let the public speak? Then claim procedure and time constraints?

          • hasgame August 8, 2013 at 10:08 am

            Well said Mayor!!

      • Maudie Fricker August 8, 2013 at 11:01 am

        Absolutely!!!

  • Vote 4 Local Change August 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Can anybody tell me if it’s even legal for a mayor to be in office as long as McArthur? If I’m not mistaken, he’s been in since 1992 A.D.!!! No wonder things have remained stagnant and downtown is dying – even through the tremendous growth.

  • Big Bob August 6, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Wouldn’t you know it, folks, Washington politics right here at home! Nice knowing you mayor…you are a liar.

  • Ken August 6, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Don’t act surprised by this article! I will say it since no one else will. MCARTHUR has shamming this city for way too long. Esplin needs to go also, these two run this city like it is theirs and to hell with anyone who isn’t benefiting these two. Quit voting because someone is a Mormon, that is another very serious issue here. Mr Vane needs to be fired and his immediate supervisor too. All these people knew exactly what was going on and did NOTHING. Grow a pair St George voters it is time to rinse this city of the “good olr boy network”.

  • Kristin Schwiermann August 6, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Wow Mayor Dan….Need a sharper shovel!?…Just bury yourself in lies and and hatred towards your fellow Saint George People!…I so hope you are done being the mayor . You have done your time now go on your way Little man!

  • Greta Hyland August 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Now we have a race. Nice article Michael…thoroughly entertaining.

  • Dan Lester August 6, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Not defending the mayor, but he wouldn’t be in office were it illegal for him to run so many times. Just think of national legislators who are in office for 20 or 50 years. For there to be term limits a law has to be passed creating them, just like was done for President.

  • The Real Truth August 6, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    I wish it was just the Mayor that lies and intimidates citizens, lets not forget about the Chief of Police and all his Nazi officer’s, Judge Shuemate, and all the D.A.’s. The list goes on and on and on. They all lie, intimidate and abuse there positions as elected officials.

    • eieio August 6, 2013 at 9:41 pm

      You seem to know the legal system well. Personal experience I suspect???

      • Eeny, Mmeeny, Miny, Moe August 6, 2013 at 10:16 pm

        LOL I was just thinking the same thing. Sounds like TRT has a lot of first hand experience with the justice system around here.

        • darcy August 7, 2013 at 9:17 am

          It’s not hard to gain a lot of experience with St.George judicial system, is hard not to! Nazi is not a far cry from the bullying tactics used by SGPD, so what makes you think they don’t learn this mentality from the men upstairs? Andthis type of downplaying opinions of people with court history is the same stereotyping that occurs in SG every day. I’ve moved from SG, but it’s always my hometown, and I would be so happy to see mayor Dan and the rest of the good ole boys finally put in their place…. A nice farm somewhere!

    • What? August 7, 2013 at 9:11 am

      You are lumping Shuemate in there????? That man has more moral direction than most that I know. I don’t even know him personally. I have just seen him in action and I was thoroughly impressed. He has an amazing ability to make needed, insightful and compassionate judgements. Maybe you should sit in a courtroom for a day and watch the way he treats EVERYONE, especially the inmates, with respect. He is a poster boy for honor. He is an amazing man!

  • -d August 6, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Thank you Michael for taking the time to investigate this more for those of us who want to stay in the loop, but don’t have the time.

  • Brian Homerguy August 6, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Its great to see this kind of journalism right here in St George. We need more articles like this one. We need more accountability in our local government. We need more Authors like Mr. Flynn. Keep up the good work.

  • Linda August 6, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Time for a change? Yes! I was at the shelter a couple of months ago and sickened by the conditions some of the animals were living in. Shame on you Mayor McArthur! But, did I expect you to help let alone listen to a problem? No! My past experience with you has been negative. Twice I have approached you about the litter problem in our parks and back country. I even offered to help set up a program for more awareness in this community on littering and trash. As long as other people were around you were attentive with promises to address the problem. When you were by yourself, you were in a hurry and your ears became deaf. “Fanatic?” D… right!!
    Ed. ellipsis.

    • STG Homie August 7, 2013 at 1:29 am

      Linda, what are u talking about? THis is by far the cleanest city I have EVER been in!

      • Save the animals from Dan August 7, 2013 at 9:21 am

        How many cities have you lived in? Just this one? St George may be cleaner than some cities I’ve lived in, but the good ole boy self interest politics is blatantly apparent here.

        • STG Homie August 8, 2013 at 4:52 pm

          Umm, let’s see….Vegas, LA, Flagstaff, AZ, Phoenix, Moline, IL, Chicago, Denver, Ogden, Grand Junction, CO…Is that enough?

          • ibeducks August 8, 2013 at 7:01 pm

            Homie you mean you’ve been run out of all those cities????

  • Cathy August 6, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Here, here Ken!! I can not remember when McArthur was NOT our mayor! He needs to go along with several others and it is about time people of the area stop voting by religion and start voting for what is best!! McArthur has been a farce for years and everyone knows it is true.

    We need change as our community is growing leaps and bounds but yet downtown is dying. A water play area, pretty park and a stupid merry-go-round did not fix anything at all. When I first moved here 17 years ago there was always something going on downtown but now there is nothing. Even Art in the Park was great back then because they closed off Main St and you did not have to walk on soggy wet grass to from vendor to vendor.

    I say, GET RID OF THE GOOD OL’ BOYS this election!!!!!

  • Warrior August 6, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    So the “appalling” conditions at the no kill shelter are determined appalling by the volunteers… then when the volunteers do not get the gargantuan tax dollar funding for every project and idea conceivable for the shelter they can dream of, they concoct a coordinated plan to intentionally embarrass the Mayor because the same volunteers are flaming liberals who want California laws to overrun the budget like they did before they left California in financial ruin.

    Everyone has an agenda… and the “volunteers” do not have St. George City or its resident’s interests in mind. They want unlimited resources like Best Friends and to make themselves the almighty animal queens

    • Big Bob August 7, 2013 at 1:24 am

      I’m a native. Leave Cali out of it. we are not all the same here. Open your mind!

    • Save the animals from Dan August 7, 2013 at 9:30 am

      California contributes to the Federal Government while Utah doesn’t. Funny how you compare St George to the entire state of California. Typical local behavior. There are many great cities in California, a lot better than Federal Dollar dependent St George. Their governments aren’t as terrible as St George, either. Maybe it’s because their residents don’t behave like a bunch of sheep following blindly along to be fleeced.

      Nice assessment of all volunteers in St George, calling them flaming liberals and to say they don’t have St George or its residents’ interest in mind. Really? Do you think volunteers are just supposed to shut and do what they are told? Slaves? Serfs? The reason why people volunteer is because they believe in a cause that will be productive for others and their city.

      What do you do for the city and its residents? Where are your public volunteer services?

    • j.alley August 7, 2013 at 10:04 am

      What does this issue have to do with Liberals, Californian’s, Best Friends or animal queens. Aren’t the volunteers asking that the City just do the job we pay them for which is treating the animals humanely in life and in death? It takes no more money to be humane than cruel

  • Mary Bemis August 6, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    I can not beleive Mr. Mayor sat up on the council in front of a packed chamber and convinced us that he truely was concerned about the treatment of the animals at his shelter, because it is his, just as the new airport is his, all of the round-a-bouts is his, Dixie College is his, allllll of Dixie is his, so he needs to stand tall and admit it is his fault these animals suffered all of these years in HIS shelter. Now to find out all the while he is smiling and making promises, he was referring to us as “fanatics”. How dare he!!
    Why am I surprised? This is just another example of politicians and their ability to talk out of both sides of their mouths. Is it any wonder so many of us prefer to be surrounded by animals than humans. No animal will stab you in the back, no animal will lie to you, no animal will bite the hand that feeds it, animals have no agenda, are not selfish and they have no legacy to build. I have lost any respect I had for you Mr. Mayor and I hope the people of St. George finally wakes up and makes the decision to elect Jon Pike for Mayor. I for one believe 20 yrs in office is plenty….you have your legacy for all of the history books…..but one of those will be “he allowed inhumane treatment at HIS animal shelter”. By the way, I am signing this “A fanatical animal advocate”.

    • eieio August 6, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      Describe for me how the animals were suffering. I have yet to see proof of that. Just more speculation and false accusations.

      • Snowfield August 7, 2013 at 8:25 am

        That’s right! And if our anointed King by Grace of God wants to eat puppies for breakfast, who are the peasants to challenge his lordship’s divine right to absolute rule?

      • Save the animals from Dan August 7, 2013 at 9:32 am

        Go read past articles.

      • Mary Bemis August 7, 2013 at 10:27 am

        eieio, your ignorance is showing, we have given a lot of proof, it is not speculation or false accusations. You are obviously one of those with the mentality “it is just an animal”, what part of inhumane treatment don’t you understand?

      • melinda August 7, 2013 at 10:37 am

        They were being killed imhumanely with a needle right in the heart without being sedated first. The wld wash out kennels wir jout removing them kso they wwreb soaked on a cement floor. The sat in the shelter with open wounds and broken bones because they didnt want a vet to care for them. Plus more which is in the articles when this all came out…

  • C. Brown August 6, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Get real people. When McArthur was first elected he was going to make big changes. A few tax payer paid “retreats/training” aka vacations and Mr Esplin supporting his business, Dan was bought and paid for. Mayor McArthur is a puppet. Esplin is the mastermind of this out of control city and guess what people? He’s NON ELECTED. Every new counsel member meets with Mr Esplin and gets read their rights. Fall into place, don’t mess with the system, and your lively hood won’t be destroyed. (Nickle, Hughes….) Get rid of Esplin and his subordinates. Oh, and don’t let him get his planned six figure buyout of his new contract if Dan looses.

    • Wagon Ho August 8, 2013 at 8:03 am

      How many of them got paid while participating with the pioneer wagon train?

  • Annie August 6, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    It starts at the top and rolls down hill.Glad to see this happen to the Mayor and his cronies.Esplin and the police chief also need to go.They are crooks with a lot of power. Personally I am tired of the St George good old boys spending my money on bull@$&# pet projects. If you file a complaint you get harassed and bullied by the police. Oh and what happened to Moss finally got caught using drug evidence for his personal use? Or was he fired for disgracing the police dept with his “swinging” cop buddies.

    • Johnson Connection August 8, 2013 at 8:05 am

      How many spent time with Jeremy Johnson on his Lake Powell houseboat or in Las Vegas gambling?

  • Steve August 6, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Mayor, the buck stops with you as far as your comment that you were not aware of any of the problems at the Animal Shelter. You are required to have supervision and accountibility of all city run agencies. You should have never referred to the volunteer workers as “fanatics” for their desire to voice their allegations. You then tried to change your deffinition of “fanatic” in order to explain away your true intent. You purposely failed to allow and obstructed public comment of this important and emotional issue that showed the city and your office in a negative light. You attempted to downplay this incident in light of election time politics. Simply shameful conduct.
    Your actions in this matter are unforgiveable and are indicators of similar behavior with other areas of responsibility. You have lost the public trust. If you continue to run for public office, I will actively support other canidates for your position. Your leadership has developed into a stagnation factor that is unproductive for the future of St. George. Oh by the way, just how did a welding contract for the new airport get awarded to a company that you have ownership in? Still waiting for an answer on that one.

    • Hard Road August 6, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      You know exactly what I just made comment on.

  • Dan Lester August 6, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    McArthur has nothing to do with the No Kill Shelter. It is in Ivins, not St George. They do kill at the SG shelter, with part of the fuss over the method sometimes used to kill. Many of the volunteers want to change the SG shelter to No Kill, but that takes more money.

    • Question August 7, 2013 at 9:44 am

      Mayor and council recently spent $1M of taxpayer money to buy the electric theater without any input from the city residents. Apparently they (mayor and council) think city has sufficient taxpayer money to buy buildings and decorations for the splash pad area and a fancy water feature near the Pioneer Park, but then say there’s no funds for the animal shelter? They also spend a lot of taxpayer money for excessive fireworks displays.

    • Mary Bemis August 7, 2013 at 10:30 am

      Dan Lester, your ignorance is showing…..yes they do kill at the St. George shelter, but we fanatics are working to bring about NO KILL. What do you mean that takes more money? Explain your comment.

      • Ken August 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm

        Holy crap Mary and your calling people ignorant! Let me explain the basics for you. A NO KILL shelter would require:

        1. More money to feed a lot more animals.
        2. More money for Vet care of a lot more animals!
        3. More money needed to properly house many more animals.
        4. More money for employees to take care of many more animals.

        Simple enough for you Mary?

  • Hard Road August 6, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Its about time, I have lived here for 52 years and its a shame these Good ole Boys get to run St. George. for this long. I have seen the the Mayor and his cronies polictical BS. ” I scratch your back-You scratch mine “system. Also Vane has been a … the whole time he has been there- poor public relations at its best.
    1- Intermountain Health Care
    2- Gold Cross ( is an umberella under Intermountain )
    3- Quality Excavation
    4- Skywest
    5- Ence
    6- Snows
    7- Esplins
    8- Private Golf courses over taken.
    The list goes on…

    Ed. ellipsis

    • Good Ole Boys? August 6, 2013 at 10:22 pm

      The Ledges over Snow Canyon State Park?

    • Question August 7, 2013 at 9:34 am

      How did the mayor’s son get such a plush city job, nice pay and benefits?

  • RNewby August 6, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    I am disgusted by the mayors behavior and attitude towards people who place a value on companion animals.

    We are not fanatics, we are people capable of compassion and respect for lives other than our own.

    Rescues step up to the plate and take an enormous amount of the burden of stray and abandoned animals off the shoulders of the general public.
    This town would be literally swamped with abandoned animals if it weren’t for the “fanatics”. It would cost the city countless more funds to deal with the strays, ferals and owner released pets if it weren’t for the rescues, their volunteers and supporters.

    Ten years and he was unable to drive less than 1 mile and 1/2 to the city animal shelter during one of this city tours.
    The mayor has shown us that he does not respect or value any of us working to make Saint George a better place for humans and animals.
    He does care about being re-elected and about his image.

  • eieio August 6, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    St. George News is a shame. Obviously still trying to push their liberal agenda. I hear a lot of accusations but have yet to see facts or truth. Just a lot of speculation here. If the city government is run as you all advocate we will see crime and poverty increase. Soon we will look just like any slum in California.

    • Hard Road August 6, 2013 at 10:07 pm

      There is a lot of crime here, do you know how many Rape cases go through the ER on a weekly basis ? Average 3 and I have seen up to 7 in one week. Nothing mentioned in the news.. The word is.. keep it on the low side.. Shooting, stabbings, Domestic violance cases NEVER mentioned to keep this sleepy town apperance as a safe and family friendly place to live.

    • Change August 6, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      Read the arrests column. St George has crime. Want to see poverty? Drive around and look around at living conditions for many. Poverty? Bring in jobs that pay decent wages.

    • jCornwell August 7, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      All I see from you are Ad Hominem logical fallacies.
      Here go ahead and read this and maybe it will help you become a more logical person 😉
      https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/

      • jCornwell August 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm

        Maybe go head and look up “Burden of proof” as well.

    • Johnson Connection August 8, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Look like a slum? Look at the houses that line the interstate going through St George. There are shabby neighborhoods all over St George. Anyone who doesn’t believe the record rate of crimes must live in a bubble shut off from reality. Simple proof: Washington County Sheriff Bookings and Arrest. Most for drugs and domestic violence and most from Dixie.

  • Good Ole Boys? August 6, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    I am reminded of the transfer of public lands which turned into the sale of property to develop the Ledges, including those houses which now stand over the ridge of Snow Canyon State Park. Wasn’t it Gardner who defended the sale and development of that land? How much public input was considered in protecting the encroachment of houses over Snow Canyon State Park?

  • Change August 6, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Make your voices heard by getting out and voting with the upcoming elections. Historically, St George has a poor voter turn-out. Want change? It seems obvious who to vote for and who to vote out.

  • Boston gal August 6, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    I love how all the st.g locals assume that anyone who isn’t a good ‘ol boy must be from CA. Give me a break. There are transplants here from all across the country & because we have actually lived outside of the UT bubble we are able to see just how corrupt things are here.

    • real life August 7, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      Amen to that. Hopefully their little bubble gets popped in this next election.

    • Outsider August 8, 2013 at 8:13 am

      Nor do we bring “hate and prejudices” as the mayor has implied

    • Tyler August 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      I’m 100% local native and I am as far from the good ol’ boy mindse and “typical” STG culture as one can get. My biggest peeve is when locals assume all locals are like-minded and the same, also, when locals assume all “outsiders” or “move-ins” are corrupting or anti locals just b/c they have a voice just as a native does.

  • Sam Allen August 6, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Despite all that has been written in several articles, the only two thing that has been written regarding the supposed problems at the animal shelter is that a volunteer sprayed down an animal while it was still in it’s cage after the police chief instructed the Animal Control officer that that was a procedure that was not to happen anymore. (Call me uniformed but not sure why that is inhumane, or if the animal had rabies or was a threat to injure someone.) I want facts, not smoke.

    The second is that it is a kill facility.

    How is it the Mayor’s fault that a volunteer or officer didn’t follow instructions. Looks to me that when it became known, the Mayor took action and saw that the employee over this area was put on administrative leave. Is this not the case? (Shouldn’t we expect this type of detailed reporting from our local news agency?) If the Mayor failed to act in a timely manner, ok then lets say that…not once has that side of the issue been discussed in the news.

    So help me great news agency. Why have you not yet done any investigative reporting and discussed what the issues were in detail, how long they have been this way and how they should be operating. Also why have you not asked about when this was brought to our leaders attention and what they did about it.

    Personally, my understanding of a kill facility is that after a given period of time, if the owners have not claimed their animal or perhaps been adopted by a new family, then the animal is put down.

    I believe most residents agree with this management policy. Killing a stray animal after a sufficient period of time is unfortunate, sad and disappointing but not inhumane. Feeding and housing animals long term while local children go homeless, now that is inhumane. (Yes there are local homeless children.)

    I believe that most of the local citizens don’t want to pay for unclaimed animals to be fed and housed long term. (Personally, I would rather see this money go a number of other items. I had for years owned dogs, all of which I considered members of my family, but reasonable management practices must be used).

    What I find interesting is all the politicizing of this issue, yet the news has done nothing to detail the issues with facts. Instead it only blows smokes about mismanagement without telling us what it was and let us decide who was responsible.

    I don’t believe that the Mayor’s choices of words if he said fanatical was politically correct or wise. But where is Pike on this and his accountability on this???? Is he not a voting member of the council? What had he heard before? What had he done about it? Did he not just have the opportunity to get money inserted into the annual budget to make improvements. Instead he does the typical slimy political pivot that is famous in Washington putting down his opponent, blaming him and acting as if he had no power to have acted on this sooner.

    Please present the full spectrum of facts, not just the anger and blame that is typical in Washington and is about dividing the community instead of coming together and having a public discussion about what we want as a community.

    I can see how the Mayor went to them and express to them that he was now aware of the situation and was committed to resolving it in a timely manner. Yes, he needed to choose better words but I too, think its a bit extreme to portray the animal shelter as inhumane because it is a kill facility. Again though, the news agency has been short on facts and concerns and long on blame.

    Personally, I disagree with some of the decisions that the Mayor has made over the years, but overall, he is the best Mayor I have seen in the several communities I have lived in. The man truly serves our community with selflessness. I have never seen divisive politics from him. After listening to him, don’t we all fall in love with Sunny St. George and want to help make it great?

    • RNewby August 7, 2013 at 12:08 am

      To deprive an animal of anesthesia when jamming a needle into its heart is inhumane. Animals left to spend 23 plus hours a day locked in a cell with no stimuli is inhumane. The “kennels” are windowless, they were not allowed any bedding, no toys of any kind. People approached the shelter countless times offering free beds, free toys. Rescues were called days after injured animals were left to languish, rescues stepped in a paid for treatment and rehab.
      The shelter management could have approached the city council with their records, paperwork etc. and requested additional funds for anesthesia at the very least. The shelter could have accepted the donations from the non profits but chose not to. Easier to clean kennels that are barren. Easier and faster to hose out kennels without having to move the dogs out of the way.
      What is inhumane about hosing out a narrow kennel with a dog inside? The dog gets wet, the cement which is their bed becomes damp and cold. The feces and urine splashes on the dog.
      There are very specific guidelines set up across the nation to regulate the treatment of animals in shelters. The shelter was not meeting minimum standards.
      This community has a great number of people who are willing to help with the welfare of its animals.
      Myself and others have donated our time and money to help educate, foster and rehab abandoned, owner released and stray animals.
      We are not fanatics just compassionate and respectful for the lives of others.

      We work hard to help make this town a good place to live.

    • William Way August 7, 2013 at 12:39 am

      Sam Allen: Very well stated. Articulate and reasoned, and not ashamed to use your name (I presume Sam is your real name).

    • DoubleTap August 7, 2013 at 10:37 am

      Sam Allen….I am just thankful YOU are NOT responsible for the animal shelter PERIOD!!

  • drizz August 6, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    There should be circus music with this comment thread

    • Question August 7, 2013 at 9:38 am

      You’re right. We should be playing McArthur singing “Dixie”. When I hear him sing “dixie”, I think of him as a big clown.

      • elliemae100 August 8, 2013 at 8:08 am

        really? if you grew up here, you would realize that we all sang that song in elementary school. Although it appears to offend you, it is imbedded in my psyche.

        • Tyler August 8, 2013 at 5:05 pm

          Really? umm, I grew up here and never heard of the sing “dixie” til I was out of school Lol!!

  • pete August 7, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I cannot believe what Pike says, “What is a fanatic anyways,” asked Pike, “someone who believes strongly in something?” Pike said he wondered if McArthur would label somebody who was very passionate about their religion as a religious fanatic. “Frankly, it’s kind of offensive and I just don’t think it’s helpful,” he said.

    Here it seems he is obviously using this to catch the mormon voters who love ole Dan, but are dissatisfied with this current issue, yet still want a magic-underwear wearing goof in control. Essentially, “Look, MAyor Dan did something bad, but I’m Pike and I’m mormon, so vote for me.”

    And yes, both Pike and McArthur Qualify as religious fanatics.

  • Betty August 7, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Well hold on now. Why did these “do-gooders” wait until the election before they voiced their concerns for this shelter? They are just as guilty as the guy who got canned for running the shelter. Do these “do-gooders” not have moral courage? If you stand by and let it happen you are just as guilty. Shame on you!

    Oh, and by the way, Pike IS an IHC man through-and-through! He (and his wife) both. They have been employed by IHC for a long time. Since we have let IHC dominate this area for so long, they may as well have an IHC puppet for mayor too.

    • RNewby August 7, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      The “do -gooders” did not wait til the election to voice their concerns.
      The complaints have been on going but ignored for years.
      Volunteers have approached the shelter for years attempting to promote change with free donations.
      The new candidates asked for the publics concerns and comments about Saint George in general on their FB pages. Those of us who were concerned spoke up. One woman politely challenged the candidates to visit the shelter and compare it to Ivins shelter. ( many people are unaware that shelters have standards they are required to abide by in the US)
      The “internal investigation” going on will show the public that yes complaints were filed long before this day.
      I can only hope it is done fairly and honestly at this point. Personally I believe outside investigators without any ties to Saint George should be running the inquiry and investigation. The public, no matter they stand, should not have to wonder about the quality of the investigation.

    • j.alley August 7, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      If you’ve followed this story from the beginning, many volunteers state they have tried to institute change in the shelter system for as long as 15 years. With a promise of change and a pat on the head their pleas have fallen on deaf ear (or they were labeled do-gooders, liberals or Californians, take your pick) They most likely realized they only way they would achieve any change was to use the political system . Pretty dam smart animal queens

  • Lois Mondane August 7, 2013 at 9:35 am

    The current mayor, he says ” I’m a welder with a title”. Does a welder usually weld with such hazardous materials and soil in a close proximity? He may surprised one day when his business goes up into flames taking the surrounding area too! He may want to look into the disposal habits of the neighbors behind his business.

  • J Robertson August 7, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Sam Allen! YOUR NO FUN AT ALL!. All you do is bring out facts. You trying to ruin everybody’s day? Their coming out of the woodwork. They have their own political agenda, you know? They want the Major to bend over and say uncle!
    Pike, Baca, etc. are laughing their rear ends off over this burning the old flag.
    You watch, the next thing we’ll hear is MacArthur is on the Attorney Generals invite for dinner list. And the name DIXIE’ is so discriminating!!!!

  • j.alley August 7, 2013 at 9:45 am

    If the City has entrusted in it’s care,has a responsibility to, collects taxes for the Animal Shelter, it should handle it in a respectful, humane and ethical manner. Period. Remember, our Shelter is under the Cities watch and has a responsibility to do it’s very best to ensure the animals are treated humanely in life and death. This has not happened in many years. We should be careful to take on an attitude that that it is acceptable to allow our City shelter to deteriorate and be careless because there are pet projects we feel more pressing or important.. Homeless animals are a tragedy of our disposable and irresponsible society. How much more effort does it actually take to kill an animal humanely than let it suffer? How much time would it take to walk a litter of puppies out of a pen before hosing it down? to change a bed out? Doesn’t the job pay the same if they are humane or cruel? I read this as the public demanding the City do their jobs

  • Cathy Burrows August 7, 2013 at 10:10 am

    As I have watched this mayor and his “favorite projects”, unfortunately, it has become clearly apparent where his priorities lie.
    Three examples that residents may recall:
    1. His push to get the scar on the black hill repaired. Accepting donations for this. How about concern and donations for the Animal Shelter, instead?
    2. The big push to have the St. George Airport built. Advertising this as an airport that can handle large jets and an airport that will provide flights like other major airports. We watched as the short runways were finished. Lots of back peddling from the mayor when we inquire concerning his earlier airport advertising.
    3. His big push to keep the “Dixie” name important at the University and the town. Not much seemed more important to him, it appeared.
    St. George needs a mayor who can discriminate between fluff and what really needs to be done to help the residents and their needs.

  • DoubleTap August 7, 2013 at 10:48 am

    As in any corporation the CEO is ultimately responsible for the company and its employees. As the Mayor, McArthur is ultimately responsible for the City and its employees. The buck stops with the Mayor. And maybe in this case with Esplin also. Some City Manager. Everytime I read an article about the City and they have a City representative make a comment, it is always the “Assistant to the City Manager”. Seldom do you hear from THE City Manager himself. It is time for chance in City leadership. If Pike is successful in his effort to claim the Mayoral position, he should be strongly encouraged to replace the City Manager and his assistant and the Police Chief along with other Department heads/Directors who have been in their positions for over 15-20 years. It is time to break up the good ‘ole boys network once and for all. St. George will benefit by all the new blood.

  • Bob Vosper August 7, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Wow, I am a fanatic and proud of it……and a voter!

    • Outsider August 8, 2013 at 8:16 am

      Dadgum outsider bringin’ in yer hate and prejudices! You ain’t from Dixie, are yer?

  • Gunther August 7, 2013 at 11:44 am

    So is it the responsibility of cities to own and operate an animal shelter?? Is it optional?? How about the city just turn it over to all who have commented on this site. Let them fund it and operate it how they please.

    • San August 7, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      Gunther, You need to learn what the issues are before making a childish statement like that…unless you are genuinely a child. YES, any city has an obligation to run an animal shelter, just as they have an obligation to provide avenues for clean water, safe roads and other health related issues. I love these animals but at the end of the day it’s the risk to humans that makes spay/neuter enforcement, running at large assistance and abandoned animal retreival mandatory. Be careful when you make lame statements that serve no purpose. Karma has a way of clarifying things…..

  • Craig August 7, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    I’m a fanatic about voting!

  • dan August 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    “Whats done in the dark will always come to light”

  • San August 7, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    I’m about as incensed by this as everyone else is, BUT I’ve met this mayor (more than once) and know that he is concerned about the citizens of St. George. I don’t live there. I have no political preference in who wins. He doesn’t deserve to be villified for trusting his line staff to do their jobs with respect to those they serve. Isn’t he the guy who fired the shelter manager? Isn’t he the guy who said it made him physically ill to hear of these complaints? Yeah, he asked them to keep this issue calm so that the reelection could be about the total picture. I get that was manipulative…I also get that there are a lot of irons in the fire right now and he’s asking people to allow the investigation process to run it’s course. Does anyone think that he’s going to re-align himself with the guy who’s accused of power washing newborn puppies down a sewer drain? No. I don’t think so. St. George is a clean, efficient and compassionate City who was largely unaffected by the financial disasters a few years ago. That comes from precision management. The Mayor was probably wrong to approach the volunteers but if we latch on to that, as a group, and make HIM the fall-guy in this argument, then we’re going to lose sight of what needs to be done. Leave him alone. Win or lose, leave it to the larger issues, the entire balance of issues facing a major City. So far, he’s done his job. I hope he finalizes firing that guy soon though….Maybe asking the rescues for input/assistance right now would be an olive branch. After all, he didn’t call everyone a fanatic. Think about it….

    • DoubleTap August 7, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      In your first sentence you mention McArthur is the “guy who fired the shelter manager”. Where have you come up with this news item? Last I heard was the shelter supervisor was placed on administrative (paid) leave…NOT FIRED. Dave Vane, shelter supervisor NEEDS to be terminated, canned, let go, FIRED ASAP!!

      • Richard Cone August 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm

        And Mr Vane’s immediate supervisor who either couldn’t or wouldn’t do his job! I wonder why the City Manager had no clue, when your the highest paid employee you have no excuse!!!!

    • Richard Cone August 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      Just another fanatic blinded by the blizzard of BS put out by this mayor and other “leaders” in this city!

    • Craig August 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      “St. George is a clean, efficient and compassionate City who was largely unaffected by the financial disasters a few years ago. ” <—-San

      I don't know where you're getting your info. from, but St. George was most certainly affected by many financial disasters.
      New home construction took a major hit when banks took a hit. Many half completed houses litter St. George when builders simply walked away. No one was buying and the real estate industry shrunk.
      This created a domino effect which affected mortgage lenders, insurers, construction suppliers, interior design , plumbing and electrical etc.. Many people lost their jobs or their hours were cut back. This lead to many people losing their homes and autos. At yard sales, tools, cars,trucks, electronic equipment and just about anything anyone could think of to sell were going for pennies on the dollar. The price of food went up and we now see more people in line at our local food bank. Many companies closed their doors or relocated and took the jobs with them.
      But, like you said, you don't live here, so I guess you did not see any of this.

  • mary August 7, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    how about all of you with an opinion that never vote get your booty take a stand for what you think is right somewhere else than behind a message board for once.. The voter turnouts, for lack of a better word, SUCK!

    • RNewby August 7, 2013 at 8:11 pm

      I believe I was voter number 159 as I signed my name on the roll at city offices today at 3:00. Was surprised and disappointed so few have turned out . Hopefully people will get out and do something proactive for this entire town.

  • Sgnative August 7, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Wait? What?! We are supposed to vote today? That was today?!

  • JOSH DALTON August 8, 2013 at 9:13 am

    I like the Mayor too! Even though one day I will run against him…and take his seat as the first Black Mayor of Saint George, who is also a non-Utah Native. I am from the TRUE DIXIE! GO FALCONS!

  • DoubleTap August 8, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Mayor McArthur: Please take the hint and withdraw from the Mayoral race. Save yourself the embarrassment and some money and please go away and retire in solitude, or go run your welding business. If your hurry, you might want to look into starting a concrete company….the City is getting ready to put in more round-abouts in the city. Can you say “CHA…CHING”….

  • Maudie Fricker August 8, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Hmmm…didn’t the city spend about $300K on a calliope …which, hello, would have been better spent on the shelter..?? Or just about anything else for that matter..?? WASTEFUL spending…

  • Fed up August 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Every liberal hippy fanatic on this website needs to leave this city. We do not want you here. And as for this website, typical liberal news company pushing their typical liberal views down our throats! I love animals, cats not so much, but this is absolutely ridiculous! And to all the people that keep comparing St. George to California, go back! If it is so bad here why did you come? Freaken hippies! And go ahead call me a fanatic conservative, I don’t care. I am proud of it!

    • Bender August 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm

      Queue the banjo music.

    • elliemae100 August 9, 2013 at 8:11 am

      What if we, the liberal hippy fanatics, were born & raised here? Where do we go back to? FYI, it’s spelled “hippie;” at least we can spell. 🙂

  • Anarchist August 8, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Let me just say, yesterday I got my arse off the keyboard and drove to City Hall just 8 minutes from my house, and voted, it only took 1 minute to punch in my vote. Although it’s not a mayoral election yet, I did vote for someone with fresh ideas and far from a “good ol’ cronie”.
    My point here is, I’m blown away at the volume of negative and hateful comments on all local media sites, yet ONLY 12 percent of the population vote!! Get your happy fingers off your effing keyboards and VOTE to reflect your online rants!!

  • #$%&* August 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Until you all vote…SHUT THE &*%$ UP!!!!!

  • Warrior August 8, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Fortunately St. George still has more sane rational people than the partisan hacks who are perpetrating the lies and smear tactics against the Mayor… its Obama style Saul Alinksy all over again.

    Just watch, the Mayor will still get over 60% of the vote!

  • g August 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    term limits…. if they aren’t up for reelection they won’t go around intimidating people. we need them nationwide for ALL politicians.

  • Matt August 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Reading these comments, I certainly hope that y’all are coming out in November to SHOW how you feel, what you think, and what you want for this community! Stop electing this guy, and you won’t have much to complain about. Get your friends and family to go with you. Rally support for your candidate. Voting numbers are ridiculously low in St. George, so your vote counts!

  • paul August 14, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    You think this is good old boy legislation? Ya’ll never lived in Texas one of three states that still practices the “Kings Law”.. This is Donny and Marie compared to Texas towns.. Appreciate what ya’ll have.. and elect fresh blood if you feel that is necessary. Probably good to change the King out once in awhile!

  • carrnel October 28, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    I’m a welder? What the heck Dan. Once u said that I forgot everything else u said. Low blow.

  • Grizzly Haan February 26, 2014 at 11:10 am

    woooo! going away party at Dan McArthur’s house! finally, i’ve been saying it for years!! congrats on bailing yourself out of office DM. Tainting the McArthur name. That’s too bad.

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