Animal Shelter Emails

Here are some emails that were forwarded to me relating to the Animal Shelter:

As you’all know, the situation with the Humane Society of Cascade County is heating up. A public meeting will be held at the City Commission meeting tomorrow (July 3) to seek public input about the City assuming animal control services. The meeting will be at 7 pm in the Commission Chambers in the Civic Center.

If there’s any way you could go to the meeting and provide information to the Commissioners it would be very valuable to advancing animal welfare in GF. Both the City and the HSCC were acutely aware the animal control services contract was to expire on June 30 and both organizations are playing their parts in creating what has become a crisis situation for the animals.

There is no immediate, truly good solution to this crisis, but I believe for the good of the animals the responsibility needs to be shifted from the HSCC to the City. I have had 6 years of experience with the HSCC that has lead me to this belief and I could go on ad nauseum about specifics, but I think the following helps summarize why the HSCC is a dysfunctional board.

Since 2002 there has been more than 100% turnover in board members. Their by-laws provide for up to 9 members. However, they have had only 4 members for quite some time now, and 1 of those members openly admits to rarely attending any meetings. Since 2002 the HSCC board has had 5 presidents.

The mission of the HSCC is to promote spay/neuter; however, they did not participate at any level in the 2 spay-neuter clinics.

The HSCC board chose not to participate in any efforts related to Camp Collie.

The HSCC board has never undertaken any significant fundraising activities and appear to be unaware of the fact that fundraising is an integral responsibility of the

The HSCC board is using donated funds to off-set meeting their contractual agreement with the City to provide animal control services.

The HSCC board has not hired an executive director for almost a year.

Although community education is a key component of animal welfare, the HSCC board has never implemented any educational programs.

And then there’s the undeniable condition of the current shelter…..

I don't know who that one was from. Then there's this one from Julie Stimac:
Many of you may or may not know that the contract with the Humane Society of Cascade County expired on June 30th. The Humane Society is a MESS! Animals are dying because of the lack of management there and that's just the beginning. There is a VERY IMPORTANT Commissioner's meeting tomorrow night, July 3rd, at 7pm in the Commissioners Chamber...if you can be there and speak for just a few minutes on your experiences or knowledge of why the City should take over the Humane Society management and get it straighten out I would be very grateful and please feel free to pass this on to whomever else you may know who would be able and willing to speak out.

Both the Animal Foundation and Spay of the Falls (our Spay/Neuter Task Force) are backing the City acquiring the Humane Society...here is a letter my friend Melanie
Lattin sent out as a call for help...she's been on the "inside" of all this for the last year!

Thanks so much...from the animals!


Clearly, there are two sides to this story. Like with the coal plant, though, if the City's processes seemed more transparent and more reasoned, City officials might have more credibility and encounter less distrust and suspicion.


Anonymous said...

Ya know, the really, really troubling part of these e-mails is this. THERE'S NOTHING THERE! I mean, "I could go on and on ad naseum". Well HELLO! How bout maybe one, lousy, teensy tiny friggin' EXAMPLE! Other than the fact that donna wants a job for gloria! To me, THAT'S the real "naseum" here! Now we gotta find jobs for all donna's out of work friends! Why not just establish a non-profit for them? Hey, that's it. A Friends of Donna fund! Take care of'em, just like the animals! Might as well!...........might be cheaper in the long run too!


Anonymous said...

And here is what seems to be the true crisis:

...if the City's processes seemed more transparent and more reasoned, City officials might have more credibility and encounter less distrust and suspicion.

....and accurate data that can be certified and independently analyzed will be easy to understand by taxpayers and voters IF and WHEN it is produced.

Ask yourself: Are you better off under current commission and mayoral rules?

Anonymous said...

Private profiteers hiking taxes and placing friends in jobs and all at public risk.

And as far as one can tell, the friends don't even have any expertise in the fields to which they're being appointed or defending.

Now THERE'S a good political platform.

I think that leaves the public with three voting choices - recall every person involved on and with the Commission - find the grounds to take them to court for illegal actions - become VERY active citizens and put a stop to the majority of things this group wants until we can vote them out in fall

Anonymous said...

I said it earlier, if Gloria LaMont ends up with a city job in all this, we know the fix was in.

WolfPack said...

All the city is doing is not renewing a contract for a vendor which there has been several complaints. What special right does HSCC have that makes their contract renewals non-reviewable? The conspiracy theorists are running amok here. The only thing strange about this story is what Geeguy pointed out; this should have been handled well before the deadline was up. This would be unusual under any other manager other than Lawton. This is just his style, asleep at the wheel, waiting for fires to put out. Stebbins was elected under difficult circumstances, all four of her fellow commissioners publicly stated they were not with her when it came to removing Lawton. Maybe it was a coincidence but she did not announce she was running again until after Lawton turned in his notice.

Anonymous said...

I think Wolfpack has forgotten a very important point. 2 weeks ago, at a public meeting, Ms Overfield stated she believed that a take-over was in the wind and that in order to accomplish that, the city had rigged the bidding system.

If people go back to the City web site they can find documents where Grove & the mayor are on the review committee and the police put in a bid. That seems to be conflict of interest at least. Illegality comes to mind.

There's not one clean player in this. But, I'd rather see a stupid HSCC player trying to do good, than a corrupt City player trying to hide illegal acts. Which is the easier to fix? Which is less damaging to the citizens?

Anonymous said...

"...If the City's processes seemed more transparent and more reasoned, City officials might have more credibility and encounter less distrust and suspicion."

GeeGuy said...

I think Wolfpack has a legitimate point. There is absolutely no reason why the City cannot review and elect not to renew the HSCC contract. That's a little different from what they tried to do originally (all board members resign, etc.), but that's all they're really doing now.

And if Gloria Lamott is hired by the City to run the operations, it is not necessarily wrong, but I think the taxpayers will insist that our Mayor has some 'splaining to do.' Personally I am willing to wait and see what happens.

I guess we'll just see how it plays out. I mostly just don't like the 3-minute rule.

Anonymous said...

If the City takes on Animal Control and the HSCC returns to taking care of abandoned and stray animals, just what WILL the city do with the animals it picks up if the HSCC won't, or can't, take them in?

The HSCC is under no obligation to take animals from the City Animal Control Officers (which presently are hired by HSCC) ala the police. So, where is the City going to put the animals?

The City has no shelter or means of caring for animals unless they take over the HSCC and force them to allow the city to use the building, equipment (owned by the HSCC which will need it if they move and continue) and infrastructure.

The HSCC can't win. If they acquiesce to City control for the good of the animals, the City can force through almost anything (and my personal opinion is they'll have done much of it illegally). If the HSCC chooses to not work with the City due to the manner in which this has all been handled, then the animals are in trouble and HSCC people look like an uncaring group.

This, then, leads me to the question, "Why is the City so adamantly disposed to taking over the HSCC AT THIS TIME?"

I can only come up with two answers;

Either, the City is incredibly stupid, OR we return to my original premise of June 29th, the City has an agenda to pass this off to a group other than the police to run while they wait for the Foundation to finish raising money for a new building, yet still be able to pass the operating costs to the public.

Which leads to MORE questions.

What I WILL bet is that the City will try to go with the control of the HSCC via Animal Control, but for all their spin about how poorly it's run and the dilapidation of the current shelter, NOT ONE CENT will be put in to remedy the problem. And, if they do put the money in, where is it coming from and how long will it take to upgrade to an acceptable standard? If the City does upgrade, why do we need the Foundation's new shelter? Why not merely use their money for operating expenses in the City improved shelter?

Will they improve the current situation. I don't believe they will. So, WHY IS THE CITY DOING THIS? I can think of many reasons, all having to do with appointments and pay-backs to individuals.

Susan Overfield

Anonymous said...

I'm just sick about all of this, can't even stand to read any more. In my opinion the Foundation has done quite a bit of damage to the reputation of the hscc board and operations. It's worded in an accusatory tone, stating every negative accusation that it could possible state. OF course doesn't mention that Melanie was one of those resigning presidents, I don't even think she was on the board for a year. Just long enough to cause problems and then walk away.
I think the foundation and the city will get their way. Frankly I don't really care if it's bob james in charge or pippi longstockings, what I do care about is the welfare of the animals. If the foundation/city wins their odd little control battle, then they better make sure they can follow their own standards, that their own words don't come back to haunt them. I do believe this will stay before the public and hopefully the public will continue to watch.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a nasty divorce with wild acquisitions of abuse leveled to gain an unfair advantage in a custody battle. Meanwhile the children are played as expendable pawns, voiceless in the drama of their dire fate.

Where is the documentation of wrong doing on the part of HSCC? Is there a system of progressive performance reviews? Hearsay from disgruntled workers, board members have any basis of documented facts?
How many public complaints of poor service of HSCC have been logged and investigated?

This is looking liking a case of the end justifies the means. The animal pawns deserve much better. They are the ones that will suffer.

At this point both parties are unfit. Until the facts come out a third party should take control.

WolfPack said...

If the HSCC has only 3 of 9 board positions actively filled how can anyone say this group is healthy? I've been on a few boards and dwindling membership is a sign that something is wrong. Contract signing time is the city's best time to effect change. The HSCC board could have made changes prior to their renewal date but did not. I'm hesitant to go sideways with Suzan on this one, for fear she may punch me if she gets mad, loves animals hates people!

Anonymous said...

The fact the board was not fully staffed has little to do with day to day operations. We are not talking about a ballgame with only 3 of 9 on the field. This is a red herring. The board had a policy and I assume guidelines for operation were already in place and the staff operated accordingly.

This is an insult to the people doing their jobs. One could say the city is not fully staff either despite the warm bodies sitting in the chairs, but life goes on.

I want hard proof of wrongdoing before making judgment.

GeeGuy said...

Is Electric City Power fully staffed? Their CEO has another job, full-time, as the fiscal services director for a medium sized city.

Anonymous said...

city, federal, and state & volunteer funding seems to be the buzzword de jour.

WolfPack said...

Geeguy- Most boards are not filled with full time board members. That's why you have 9 board positions so that full attendance is not required to get a quorum for votes and all duties do not fall onto 1 or 2 individuals with other outside responsibilities. I wouldn't be surprised if the HSCC bylaws required more than 3 board members be present to authorize spending money, many bylaws do. As for ECP I think you have it backwards. ECP is Balzarini’s full time job; she attends to the menial city stuff when she has time.
Anon- Running a large organization is like a ball game when it comes to having active board members, if the rules allow it you can play short but not very well. Having perpetually inactive members or being down 6 of 9 defiantly is a drain on getting things done. Have you ever been on a board? Letting your board dwindle down to 3 active members is a serious lapse in judgment and duty to your members. Was there nobody in the membership willing to work with the existing board? Were they asked? Why not? I’m sure the employees of the shelter are fine people but unless one of them is doing the job of the HSCC Executive Director and or HSCC board it is not a sustainable situation. Are the shelter employees also responsible for fundraising?

WolfPack said...

Saw this over at the Tribune site as a comment to the shelter story and had to share it.

"These decent people that are being passed up are decent people who we want animals but instead they adopt animals out to people who shouldnt even have kids."

Some people really love animals!!!

Anonymous said...

Ah, Wolfpack...such is the spin that you would believe I hate people.

Nope, I hate corruption, lies, deceit, dis-information, misinformation and quasi-governmental compassion in order to sell an illegal act for personal gain and profit. Go into business for oneself and take the attending risks, don't use public money for private gain and skate away with no accountability.

And to paraphrase Twain,Wilde, West, et al, "I don't care what you say about me, just spell my name right"

Anonymous said...

Wolfpack, have you ever jumped in front of a speeding train? How do you know what its like? We are only speculating about the fitness of the remaining board members.

For day to day operations, the last thing you need in any business are board members telling hourly employees how to do their jobs.

WolfPack said...

Susan- Sorry for misspelling your name. You punched a man for doing his job because you were mad at his boss. You might be a great defender of animal interests but your compassion for your fellow man is sorely lacking. I may sound harsh but I think you need a little public shame for your actions. You are not the Rosa Parks of free speech just a bully.
Anon- Are you suggesting that jumping in front of a moving train may not be bad and only experience will tell? There is no speculation about the non-existent board members that I’m sure the by-laws require the organization to have. How can the day-to-day operations not be impacted by a lack of resources and oversight. The HSCC was asking for a large increase in their contact. Most likely the increase is needed to make up for fundraising shortages. Isn’t a poorly run or stretched too thin board ultimately responsible for this?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if HSCC would have an easier time recruiting board members, an executive director, hell, just operating with an extra hundred grand a year?

And just think, that would still be over two hundred grand less than the City's proposal!

Anonymous said...

Wolfpack, I believe many would find it of interest if you would please disclose your true name and if you were there at that meeting. If not, I think, perhaps,it wise that you know the truth before you speak.
Susan O.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Overfield, you were out of order and assaulted an officer of the law. That in itself renders anything you have to say questionable. We'll be watching your court case.

Anonymous said...

It is easy to understand such a protest, especially when Ms. Stebbins appears to be a bully-pulpit-bully.

A leader cannot expect less than she is willing impose upon others.

Frankly, Ms. Overfield was not trying to prevent public discourse and has indeed rendered closed city doors asunder.

Oh yeah, we'll be watching Stebbins & Co now.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I thought that Wolfwacky might enjoy this article. He wants all them criminals busted. He wants a nice, orderly world.



Anonymous said...

Just a few thoughts, I was on the HSCC board years ago for just a few months. I considered it an honor to be asked but my present job did not always give me the option to go to a board meeting in the middle of the day, so I had to step down. I would have loved to stay, contribute and to learn more about the HSCC.
Unable to go to the meeting last night I asked a friend to tape it.
Unfortunately the tape ran short and I was only able to watch the first 7-10 minutes of the HSCC/City Agenda. I was very pleased to hear Mr. Donahue sound like the HSCC was trying to work with the city finally, and he actually sounded professional about it (not a side he has shown lately).
I feel ..
1. (from personal experience) That the HSCC needs at least another $100,000.00 a year more than they bid to do their job.
2nd. They need more board members in their decision making process. 3rd. If part of their agenda is fundraising, that job should be a totally seperate position within the organization.
4th. I don't feel the Animal Foundation should be hitting up the HSCC for money. Are they not 2 seperate organizations?

Up to this point there has been so much bad mouthing, rumors, etc. it seemed more like two year olds fighting over a toy.

Nancy Loendorf, F&L Pet Resort

Anonymous said...

RE: Nancy Loendorf, F&L Pet Resort comments

1) Many of us understand how you feel about meetings being held when you cannot attend.
2) The City Commission does the same thing. They have working meetings when most people cannot attend.
3) Your backhanded comment on Mr. Donahue is unseemly and may qualify as bad mouthing.
4) Thanks to the public access channel you can get a video of the meeting if you pay a small fee.
5) You be thrilled, or not, to see some citizens voiced additional comments when Ms. Stebbins said only 2 comments would be allowed.
6) Hope Geeguy posts the video excerpts of importance!

Anonymous said...

Yes, you are somewhat right about my comment. It actually started out as a compliment to Mr. Donahue.
The rest was a personal observation I should have kept to myself. Sorry.