The wild west
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July 1996:
HERRO OF THE HOUR
LAS VEGAS––Believing the nonprofit Animal
Foundation International could adopt out more animals and euthanize
fewer than the for-profit Dewey Animal Control Center, AFI
president Mary Herro bid successfully on the Las Vegas animal
control sheltering contract, taking over the job in December.
After five months, AFI had received 3,409 dogs and
cats from animal control, only five fewer than Dewey, and had
returned 652 animals to their owners, 29 more than Dewey.
Adoptions were right at Herro’s target pace of 500 a month:
2,534, up from 686 under Dewey, and the euthanasia percentage
was down to 31%, from 46%, already low compared to the
national norm of about 65%, reflecting the impact of the 75,000
discount neutering surgeries done by AFI since 1989. But
euthanasias were also up, from 1,871 under Dewey to 2,041 under
AFI, because public turn-ins rose from 487 under Dewey to 1,463
under AFI, and owner surrenders jumped from 179 to 1,650.
“The increase in public and owner turn-ins suggests
erroneous reporting by Dewey,” said Herro. “I now need to
expand our facility in order to give all the adoptables the 30 days
they need to find homes.” She hoped to expand by midsummer.
But there was another explanation for the numbers: the
high-profile AFI adoption campaign has encouraged people who
can’t bear to surrender animals for euthanasia to bring animals to
the shelter––who would otherwise be left in homeless situations.
The AFI records show the same pattern as the combined
records of the San Francisco SPCA and San Francisco animal control
as SF/SPCA president Richard Avanzino ceded animal control
duties back to the city and moved toward the Adoption Pact signed
in April 1994, under which no recoverable animals received by
either the humane society or city animal control are euthanized.
Public and owner turn-ins rose several times in response to popular
turns away from euthanasia, as the SF/SPCA began to receive animals
formerly withheld by people who refused to bring in an animal
to be killed. But adoptions also rose at each turn, as people
no longer dreaded having to look at animals who would be receiving
a death sentence when they chose to adopt a different animal.
As the turn-ins reduce the breeding pool at large, building
on the success of the AFI neutering program, the total Las
Vegas animal intake should peak and then drop over the next few
years, according to the San Francisco model.
TOWN AIN’T BIG ENOUGH FOR BOTH
T U C S O N––The Tucson Humane Society on June 13
fired executive director Carol Monroe, whose contract was up
June 30. Several other staffers were expected to depart with her.
Eighteen staffers who backed Monroe were reportedly
barred from a June 11 board meeting by board president Barbara
Lodge, who was elected in February 1994, a month after Monroe
was hired. A difficult relationship finally fractured, Monroe
speculated, when Monroe fired community relations manager
Kathleen Dunbar, a five-and-a-half-month employee, whom
Lodge apparently wanted to make co-director of the shelter.
Dunbar was reinstated after Monroe’s firing.
Monroe also clashed with board members Larry Lof and
Bob Sorock. Lof, an investment broker, manages securities of
about $1.5 million for THS. He wanted a freer hand to choose
investments; Monroe insisted on outside oversight of a crueltyfree
Sorock has wanted THS to hire former Humane Society
of the U.S. vice president of investigations David Wills. Sorock
left the Michigan Humane Society board when Wills resigned as
executive director in June 1989, just as the board discovered a still
largely unexplained loss of $1.6 million; served on the board of
the National Society for Animal Protection, which Wills founded
in August 1989; and was on the board of the Humane Society of
the U.S. when Wills folded NSAP to join the HSUS staff in 1991.
Sandra LeBost, a volunteer who also followed Wills from MHS to
NSAP, successfully sued Wills last year for failing to repay loans
of $42,500, but has yet to collect. Four months later HSUS fired
Wills for alleged embezzling, and sued, seeking restitution of
$93,000, while three HSUS employees charged him with sexual
harassment. Wills countersued. All the cases remain pending.
Lodge told local media that Wills is not being considered
as Monroe’s replacement.
W I L L C O X––Responding to a report by Karen
Gonzalez of the Arizona Range News that 12 dogs had been shot
behind the Willcox pound on June 1, and another report that a
stray dog baked to death in a trap left unchecked for days, the
Tucson group Voices for Animals adopted all 11 dogs at the
Willcox pound on June 10, taking seven of them to the Tucson
Humane Society. Willcox resident DeAnna Cheser was appointed
pound manager starting June 14, replacing William Head, who
was fired for insubordination in May. The Willcox Fire