I am writing to address the letter to the editor by Mr. Jenks on August 23rd. The State of Colorado has found the shelter lacking on numerous accounts and the violations are publicly available. You can see some of them from the article by Carie Cantebury on August 16th (Former Humane Society of Fremont County volunteer tells of ‘bad’ neuter surgeries).
Fremont County should demand a change in the operational management of the shelter immediately. The current director Tom Cameron activities indicate general bad management, apathy towards animal welfare, and lack of commitment to the mission of the shelter. Leadership is ultimately responsible for the multiple violations found at the shelter.
As Mr. Jenks indicated, the information coming to light, if true, is horrible. In the next sentence he asserts they are “not true and unfounded”. This sounds like a tacit denial of the available and emerging evidence.
I would hope the trustee would put homeless pets first. I believe some of the violations can be viewed as animal abuse and others are just indicative of a systemic lack of competent management.
And from the investigation by the state, the violations that were found at the shelter are not inconsequential, even without the additional numerous anecdotal stories of neglect which are coming to light, they are reasons for the dismissal of Mr. Cameron. For instance:
- “Animal care; euthanasia is not being conducted in a humane manner and according to AVMA guidelines”
- ““Two intake reports were provided that indicated two stray cats were euthanized the same day they were taken to the shelter”
There are more than 10.
Mr. Cameron has banned volunteers to come in and care for the animals. These are people who work for free. Volunteers are the lifeblood of a shelter and enable daily care, feeding, walking, and general well-being of the homeless pets waiting to find their way home.
I welcome that Mr. Jenks is inviting people to start touring the facility on a regular basis. I would urge all citizens to do this and not just this week. It should be on an ongoing basis, and you should bring cameras, questions and a sharp eye to see what is going on in this facility.
Also, as a trustee of a shelter organization I find it terribly disconcerting that Mr. Jenks thinks No Kill communities is impossible. More than 160 communities saving more than 90% or more shelter animals exist. See http://outthefrontdoor.com/ to see them all. You cannot say something is impossible if it already exists.
He asserts this is a Vendetta by volunteers and previous employees. He fails to mention the adopters and other every day citizens that have come forward including a local former animal control officer. The Facebook page received more than 700 members. The tragic stories are mounting. One story is an anecdote, numerous stories are a trend. With the addition of verified numerous violation, the board needs to make a change in the management of the shelter.
This is not a fringe group of people, this is a community enraged. For good reason: Can anyone give me one reason an unpaid person, working tirelessly to save the lives of homeless pets would make up any of these stories? And again, there are more and more stories coming from non-volunteers.
It’s time for a change to get this shelter back on track to the founder’s vision.
Lastly, Mr. Jenks invokes PETA as a reference to rebut the No Kill movement. PETA runs a single shelter in Virginia. PETA has killed more than 90% of every animal entering their ONLY shelter for the more than a decade. Their kill rates are public information as they have to report them every year to the state. They are not a good reference when making an argument of how to run a shelter or saves the lives of homeless pets.
Mr. Jenks you and the board can be the heroes. A change in the management rejuvenate the business of saving lives. There are dozens that want to help but cannot tolerate the current management. They are waiting for a compassionate director to lead a new era for your organization.
Mr. Jenks, your problem is not the Facebook page, it is not the volunteers, it is not the former ACO, it is not the ex-employees, and it is not people like me. Your problem, Mr. Jenks, is Tom Cameron.
Facilitate the change in management Mr. Jenks, I will be the first to applaud you.
You can see Mr. Jenks Original letter here.