CHANGING TIMES IN SHELTERING

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2000:

Michigan Humane Society executive
director Gary Tiscornia, 54, resigned
effective June 16 after 11 years in charge
and 18 years as an MHS employee.
Tiscornia succeeded David Wills in 1989,
who left an unexplained $1.6 million deficit
and a staff in chaos. Bookkeeper Denise
Hopkins pleaded guilty to embezzling about
$60,000. Wills was not charged, but was
later successfully sued for nonrepayment of
loans borrowed in connection with starting
the short-lived National Society for Animal
Protection, and pleaded guilty in June 1999
to embezzling from the Humane Society of
the U.S.

Tiscornia restored confidence in
Michigan Humane by originating the
“Adopt-a-thon” concept later taken national
and international by the North Shore Animal
League, starting a fundraising telethon, and
helping to strengthen the Michigan anti-cruelty
laws. He came under sharp criticism in
recent years, however, for failing to attract
enough veterinary help to keep the in-house
neutering clinics at all three Michigan
Humane shelters running without interruption,
and endorsing sharpshooting as a
response to over-abundant deer in some
Detroit suburbs.
“The North Shore Animal
L e a g u e helps animals all over the world,
not just on Long Island,” publicist M a r g e
Stein announced on May 30. “So, starting
today, we will be known as North Shore
Animal League America. Although the
name has changed, our mission is the same
––to save animals’ lives wherever they are.”
All the cultural conflicts a m o n g
“dogcatcher,” conventional sheltering, and
no-kill perspectives (see page 7) seem evident
in St. John Parish, Louisiana, population
42,500. The St. John Humane
Society, headed by volunteer Heidi Hogan,
housed strays for seven years with inadequate
funding and a substandard shelter.
Ousted amid allegations of malfeasance, the
St. John Humane Society is now seeking
funds to build a no-kill shelter. The no-kill
Riverlands SPCA, however, may have a
big head start in that direction. Animal control
officer Melissa Vial has run the shelter
since May while remaining on call full-time.
The New Orleans-based League In Support
of Animals, inspecting Louisiana shelters
since 1989, recently gave the shelter an “F”
for facilities, animal control services, disease
control, health and sanitation, and
adoption management.

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