What is brewing in Milwaukee?
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1995:
Victoria Wellens, executive director of the Wisconsin Humane
Society, wrote to ANIMAL PEOPLE to object to our September item, “What’s
Brewing in Milwaukee?”, which summarized a dispute over accountability
between WHS and the Wisconsin Animal Protection Society.
She especially objected to the line, “Wellens, hired at $90,000 a year
in mid-1994 despite having no background in animal work, recently ired both
staff and outside critics by trading in several vehicles used to haul animals and
supplies for a $28,000 Ford Bronco, from which animals are barred.”
“The figure you quoted for my salary is false and grossly inflated,”
Wellens claimed. In fact, though the higher figure has been published by
Milwaukee media, she makes $70,000––close to the national average for comparable
positions. “Further, the Ford Explorer [similar to a Bronco, but bigger] used by law enforcement officers is well-suited to our needs and did not cost
$28,000. Animals are not barred from any WHS vehicle.” The actual sticker
price was $24,602, knocked down to $12,124 with the trade-ins.
“WHS has saved thousands of dollars on insurance and vehicle expenses
by reducing the size of our fleet,” Wellens continued. “These savings are
being used to implement a microchip identification program for animals and
expansion of our pre-adoption sterilization program.”
And then she called, following up her letter, to discuss specific problems––like
an aging shelter, in urgent need of replacement––which are common
problems of older humane societies with animal control contracts in an era of
tight urban budgets. WHS intakes, adoptions, and euthanasias are all within 3%
of the current U.S. norms, but under current animal control agreements WHS
receives only 80¢ per resident of its service area; the current average for U.S.
animal control contracts is $1.18 per capita.