Letter — Humane Society keeps secrets
February 5, 2003
In the springs of 2000 and 2001 I was among a group who helped organize fund-raising cruises to benefit our very own locally operated Humane Society Shelter. I was impressed at the outpouring of support this community offered in order to open and maintain a shelter for dogs and cats so they would not needlessly be euthanized. I am now very disheartened to hear the Board of Directors of the Humane Society has decided to close the facility.
Hundreds of people were willing to pay $20 or more to go on those fund-raising cruises. Scores of businesses donated prizes worth thousands of dollars. All for the purpose of first opening and then maintaining a facility where animals could be sheltered until they were found homes. And all did so in blind trust that the monies generated would be used for the facility. In fact many donated on the word of those of us that organized the cruises that the monies generated would keep the facility open. We now have to attempt to explain to individuals and businesses who helped support the cruises where their money has gone.
In hindsight, it was clear that we the organizers should have done more research before becoming involved. We should have made sure we had access to the Humane Society’s tax returns –their 990s – that other non-profit organizations willingly make public. We should have heeded the words of caution of all those who previously attempted to help the Humane Society, but became frustrated at the organization’s lack of responsiveness. And we should have become very concerned when respected business people attempted to fill open seats on the Humane society Board of Directors and could not even get a response from the organization.
Many have asked questions of the board and the executive director with no answers forthcoming.
What are the bottom line results? The Humane Society has failed to keep the shelter open. Period! Dogs and cats that otherwise would get the chance to find homes will be euthanized as a result.
I have one more question that will hopefully now be answered. Rather than quitting and giving up the facility, should not the board now step aside and give those who are willing the opportunity to run it openly and honestly?
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