From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 1996:

WASHINGTON D.C. – – Former
Humane Society of the U.S. vice president for
investigations David Wills was apparently out
of the picture but still a presence when the
Washington D.C. Department of Human
Services extended the District of Columbia
Animal Control contract with Animal Link
Inc. for a second 50 days from December 20,
despite the complaint of the Washington
Humane Society, the service provider from
1980 to October 31, 1995, that “In a matter of
weeks the shelter became dirty and disorganized;
the number of animals taken in
declined by nearly 50%; and patrons are calling
WHS complaining of lack of response
from DCAC.”

With the complaint, WHS sent the
city a list of alleged Animal Link violations of
humane standards, backed by an incident log
signed by 13 former shelter volunteers, who
charged in a December 3 letter that Animal
Link has “repeatedly created situations that
pose a great risk to public health and safety.”
The Washington D.C. administration
did not respond to ANIMAL PEOPLE’ s
inquiry as to whether the allegations by WHS
and former volunteers were investigated
before the contract with Animal Link was
renewed, and if so, what was determined.
WHS yielded the DCAC contract
because the strapped city was $400,000 behind
in payment for services. However, WHS
executive director Mary Healey has made
clear that WHS wants the job if a properly
funded longterm contract is offered. Animal
Link took over as a hastily assembled coalition
of volunteers and former shelter workers, still
in the nonprofit incorporation process, headed
by executive director Dee Atwell, former
WHS veterinarian Gerald Eichinger, and former
WHS volunter Phyllis Horowitz.
Wills never had an official role in
Animal Link, but was prominently involved,
along with his wife Lori Wills (White) during
the first few days after Animal Link assumed
the DCAC management, which came just two
weeks after his October 14 termination by
HSUS. Wills, who had been involved in
negotiating a proposed takeover of DCAC by
HSUS that fell through in September, a month
after HSUS put him on administrative leave,
appeared to be trying to pick up the pieces of
his career, but “absented himself,” according
to the incident log, after alleged problems at
DCAC under Animal Link drew local media
attention, and media discovery of his presence
attracted more.
One broadcast, by WUSA-TV,
interviewed Sandra LeBost of Royal Oak,
Michigan, about the circumstances of Wills’
1989 resignation after 10 years as executive
director of the Michigan Humane Society,
shortly after the MHS board learned that funds
were missing. On December 14, LeBost told
informed her that Wills had sued the station
for libel, producing a letter from former MHS
board president Bob Sorrock stating that the
board had exonerated Wills of any involvement
with the missing money. However,
Sorrock said this was done while he was board
president; according to Detroit Free Press
coverage of the case, he resigned with three
other board members and Wills almost at the
outset of the investigation. WUSA-TV had no
The Humane Society of the United
States on November 15 sued Wills in U.S.
District Court for the District of Maryland
alleging that “From at least in or about
December 1992 through August 1995,” Wills
“improperly received at least $93,414 in cash,
goods, and services” at HSUS expense.
Among the transactions cited were shipping a
personal horse to Michigan and allegedly paying
the transporter as a consultant on horse
slaughter, and double-invoicing HSUS and
the National Geographic Society for expenses
in connection with a trip to Vietnam.
Wills has reportedly countersued
HSUS and HSUS president Paul Irwin.
Irwin on December 8 sent a strongly
worded letter to the Washington D.C. city
government, stating that, “HSUS offers our
total, unequivocal support to the Washington
Humane Society as the agency to provide animal
care and control services to Washington

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