Denver CO

Canon City Shelter Board Member Insults the Banned Volutneers and Ex-Employees Yet Again

Canon City posted an article about the daughter of the president of the board that runs the local humane shelter in Fremont County near Canon City.

I had to address the information presented.  I believe the good people of this area are being completely  misinformed by this shelter.  They are in “Cover your ass” mode at the shelter and it is disturbing to watch.  The small part of the community that has not caught on to the vitriolic eloquence of this group is going to be very angry when the light bulb goes off…

The title was Non-voting board member of the Humane Society of Fremont County addresses Cañon City Council  You can see it here but it is quoted below with counterpoints to Beth’s comments and some other information.

“A non-voting board member of the Humane Society of Fremont County addressed the Cañon City Council during its regular meeting Monday about recent allegations of abuse and neglect by shelter staff and management.”

The non-voting member is Ruth Stimack’s daughter, the President of the non-profit organization.  Just a fact that should be understood to give one a greater understanding of the speaker.

“The Colorado Department of Agriculture conducted a follow-up inspection Oct. 1 to two prior inspections in June and September. In information provided Monday to the Daily Record by the Department of Agriculture, the shelter has until Oct. 15 to meet a recordkeeping violation found during last week’s visit.”

The previous two inspection found 11 violations including:

  1. an animal held by or in the custody of the shelter and not reclaimed by the owner shall be held for a minimum of five days after acquisition, or three days if it has no identification and the manager determines there are no additional resources or the animal is dangerous (two intake reports were provided that indicated two stray cats were euthanized the same day they were taken to the shelter)
  2. euthanasia is not being conducted in a humane manner and according to AVMA guidelines (an investigator noted that the veterinarian was not routinely present for the procedure and kennel attendants were allowed to perform the procedure unattended despite lack of training)

These are clear indication of the management’s incompetence.  Without the volunteer work, these never would have been addressed.

“At the time of the inspection, Dr. Cynthia Thompson observed that the name of medications, dosages and time administered are not being recorded for flea sprays and de-wormers. Paperwork provided to the City Council on Monday by Beth Gaffney includes a new form that the shelter plans to use to meet the recordkeeping regulation. She also provided copies of past violations and actions the shelter have taken to come into compliance. “

Addressing the violations is an improvement that happened only because volunteers brought them to light.  Without the volunteers, none of these would have been addressed and the regressive management never would have been exposed.  Addressing these violations does nothing to combat the culture of neglect and killing inherent in this shelter.

“As we work toward a resolution to the recent events, we view this time as an opportunity to improve the quality of our shelter practices and service,” Gaffney said. “I hope this information we share with you today answers questions and sheds light on how much we truly care about providing humane animal services to Fremont County.”

The first part about improving the shelter is the only thing anyone has asked for and all have been fighting for since day one.  The way to improve the shelter is clear:

  1. Remove the current management
  2. Replace with a compassionate hardworking director
  3. Reinstate the volunteers
  4. Start saving lives

The second part of this quote shows the true misinformation and misdirection this management has practiced for months now.  Deny there ever was a problem.  There still is a severe management problem and the 11 violations were simply symptomatic of the underlying environment of negligence and incompetency.

“Mayor Tony Greer during a September Public Works meeting said he is investigating the cost for the city to drop off 1,000 animals a year at neighboring cities that would be compatible to Cañon City’s need after citizens asked the council to consider not renewing its $30,000 annual contract with the shelter. The city will conduct a public hearing on the proposed 2014 budget Oct. 21.”

No amount of money is worth the suffering of homeless pets under the current management.

“Gaffney said she is interested in seeing a cost-comparison analysis and how much money a change like this would save and/or cost the city. She said a group of former shelter employees and volunteers formed to petition for a change of shelter management have been “self-serving and have harmed the animals in the community.””

How have unpaid volunteers been self serving.  These same volunteers have been villainized by shelter management repeatedly in public.

“Perhaps it is easier to complain and blame than it is to actually walk in the very difficult shoes of those who work to make a difference for our animals,” she said.

Since June 11 through September 25, 2013, 5 of “disgruntled volunteers” have been instrumental in saving more than 116 dogs and 271 cats from ending up or remaining in the shelter by finding them homes, places in rescue or returning them to their owners.  That’s about 4 homeless pet lives saved per day.  And they did it without a half a million dollar budget that the HSFC has.  Oh, and they managed to not kill a single one.

“Documentation provided by the Department of Agriculture contained a separate complaint stemming from a 2012 incident that contains information “not regulated by the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act.”

Gaffney said a new volunteer program coordinator, Tim Bennett, will have the program up and running in November.”

It takes one day to ask people to walk into a shelter, put a collar on a dog and take him for a walk.  Or fill a bowl with food, or water.  It takes less than that to allow a person with compassion for homeless pets to spend a little time with a cat that needs to know someone cares.  It takes nothing to allow volunteers to show kindness to animal that the management, that is paid to do so, will not.

Canon City and Fremont County are becoming a center of attention for the homeless pet advocates throughout Colorado.  This will continue until someone stands up to the board and for the volunteers, former employees, veterinarians, adopters and foster and the general community members that see through the disingenuous actions and statements for this management.



One thought on “Canon City Shelter Board Member Insults the Banned Volutneers and Ex-Employees Yet Again”

  1. I agree with “These people (Cameron and crew) MUST go! I do not believe one word of “we are working for the animals”. I PRAY this continues to be one of the biggest “centers of attention” especially until we (in Canon City) can have a safe, healthy place for our homeless pets. Some are lost and not even given the allotted five days to stay alive! They are murdered (yes, murdered) well before the five days quite often the same or next day after arrival. The manner of murder, known as “Heart Stick” is a hideous death as many miss the undeserved target. When they miss, the animal is in agony for some time before death finally comes. Whether or not my comments address all of the issues, this needs to be told again, & again! There is so much more to say about these voiceless, defenseless, and scared precious animals! Much can be seen on Face Book at the site named “Stop The Humane Society of Fremont County“. Please, take a look and you will see many articles and Letters to the Editors. Thank you for taking the time to read this, Debby Ledbetter

Bark Away!