Friends of the Shelter of Hope advisory committee resigns en masse

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To: Joint Animal Control Municipal Services Board
From: Friends of Animals (Friends of the Shelter of Hope advisory committee)
Date: November 16, 2016

In consideration of recent events and board decisions, the Friends of the Shelter of Hope (Friends of Animals) Committee as a whole regrets that it must submit its resignation as of November 16, 2016.

The following recent developments have contributed to this decision:
At the September 21, 2016 board meeting a motion was made,
“Friends of the Shelter of Hope” committee be renamed to “Friends of Animals” and further that at such time as a formal plan for the new model is developed and accepted, the board shall dissolve the Friends of the Shelter of Hope committee.”
The board chair also said “Animal advocacy, dog walking and socialization, feral cat colony management providing TNR, feral kitten socialization, foster care and registry, last resort placement, pet boarding, pet ownership training and education, rescue by breed management, senior dog retirement, transportation service, a wildlife rescue service just to list a few. This is what I see the Friends of the Shelter of Hope becoming.”

At the October 19, 2016 board meeting, the committee was told that suggestions related to the operation or management of the facility are now outside of our committee mandate. The posted draft minutes of that board meeting regarding the Sept 21st motion, states:
“clarification of motion:September 21 minutes – item 11.3 regarding renaming of committee and the effective date. Following discussion it was agreed that the Committee is renamed, that matters of operational and management nature be removed from the Terms of Reference effective immediately and further that the volunteers bring forward suggestions for a new model.”

Every member of the committee applied to be a part of an advisory committee that was to help the Shelter of Hope gain a more positive image in the community and grow to become a shelter facility with animal care to be proud of. Each person put their time, knowledge, talents and reputations to work, the Committee was there to help. There were some positive effects such as:

– the promotion of the Barn cat program
– three public events including a very successful Christmas Craft Show fundraiser
– a far better Social Media presence
– cats now receiving the FVRCP vaccination on intake (reducing the danger of outbreaks of upper respiratory issues)
– a change of vet clinic
– and a Pediatric spay and neuter program being established.

However, the Friends Committee, our mandate and activities was never properly explained or relayed to the staff at the Shelter causing great friction and mistrust from the first meeting and growing worse until Committee members were verbally harassed by staff. The Board has had the Friends Committee on hold and away from the Shelter since April 2016. The current Board’s stated desire to dissolve the committee and its disinterest in receiving future recommendations, and the inability to have the shelter manager and staff fully participate in many of the recommended programs that have been put in place (the Barn Cat program, public Foster Program, Updated Quarantine programs, etc) make it impossible for us to continue advocating for the shelter.

Sincerely,

Kristen Stewart

Emily Skelton

Laurel Merriam

Christine C. Rowland

One Response

  1. Eileen mountain

    I’m very sad to learn that the committee has been met with such rebuff. I would like to recommend that the committee remain and perhaps a staff person join the committee to gain better understanding of the committees process and reasons. It seems to me that the miss trust comes from insecurities; everyone should put their selfishness aside and consider the reason the board and the committee and the staff need to work together it’s for the sentient being without a voice