FARMINGTON — Animal Services Supervisor Angie Arnold has been terminated from her position, city officials confirmed Monday.

The decision follows months of controversy surrounding her qualifications, background and conditions at the shelter.

"We've been watching the situation for some time," said Councilman Dan Darnell. "I think it's obvious that we hired a person that seemed really qualified, and that (the situation) did not work out."

Arnold was dismissed on Feb. 1, Assistant City Manager Bob Campbell said.

Arnold could not be reached for comment.

Marcy Eckhardt, of Pro-Shelter, will continue to provide consulting services to the city.

Controversy surrounding Arnold's qualifications reached its zenith when the Humane Society of the Four Corners' Board of Directors sent an eight-page letter to Mayor Tommy Roberts and city council on Nov. 12 detailing alleged unsanitary, unsafe and disease-ridden conditions at the shelter.

In addition, the letter alleged that Arnold, a native of Germany, was never a veterinarian as she claimed.

Arnold denied the allegations at the time.

A Humane Society of the Four Corners spokesperson declined to comment when contacted Monday.

City officials, in the mean time, are looking to the future.

A groundbreaking ceremony for Farmington's new animal shelter is scheduled for 3 p.m. Feb. 13 at the northwest corner of Browning Parkway and the entrance to Animas Park.

For Darnell and Councilwoman Mary Fischer, the groundbreaking represents an opportunity to move forward.

"For the last several months, we've been in a reactive mode," Fischer said. "It's time for us to be proactive. I'm looking forward to this new beginning."

Although the new shelter will provide a much needed upgrade to the city's aging animal services facilities, city council needs to carefully examine data on how many animals are too sick or injured to be adopted, Darnell said. Those animals often have to be euthanized because they cannot be adopted.

"Depending on how high that number is, we probably need to assist (San Juan County) and possibly the Navajo Nation," he said.

One option would be for the city to invest in a mobile spay and neuter clinic, Darnell said, adding that such a project has not yet been formally discussed.

Although Arnold's dismissal is a step forward for the city's animal services, the decision does not come without a bittersweet touch.

"Council does not get involved in every day personnel matters, but when we hear a number of complaints, it's concerning," Fischer said. "I hope Angie is able to find something more to her (qualifications). I hate for anyone to lose their job."