Ed Sayres leaves the American Humane Association
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1997:
ENGLEWOOD, Colo.––Ed Sayres, director of the American
Humane Association’s animal protection division since August 1995,
“resigned his position to seek new opportunities,” AHA executive director
Robert F.X. Hart announced in an April 16 prepared statement.
Personally serving as interim director of the animal protection division,
Hart got an immediate baptism by flood, coordinating the AHA relief
effort in the vicinity of Grand Forks, North Dakota.
ANIMAL PEOPLE reported in April that Sayres was a leading candidate
for the top job at the New York Center for Animal Care and Control,
vacated on January 21 by the resignation under fire of founding director Marty
Kurtz. Sayres confirmed on April 20 that he was interviewed for the CACC
job two days earlier, but said he had not yet been told if he would be hired.
Sayres previously served for 13 years as director of the St. Hubert’s Giralda
shelter in New Jersey, within the greater New York City region.
Neither Hart nor Sayres indicated Sayres’ departure was anything
but amicable, but a critique of the AHA faxed to ANIMAL PEOPLE by former
administrative assistant Linda Hardesty on April 14 gave another view.
At AHA for about a year, Hardesty apparently quit soon after Sayres.
“It appears that animals are being used as a front to funnel money to
the in-the-red children’s division,” Hardesty charged. “While this may not be
illegal, it seems unethical. The individuals who make donations through
direct mail are giving for the benefit of animals. The name American Humane
Association conjures an image of an animal protection group. The ex-director
of the animal division who dared suggest that the two divisions should be fiscally
autonomous is currently ‘pursuing other opportunities.’”
Unaware of Sayres’ departure, and noting a variety of factual and
contextual errors in the Hardesty critique, ANIMAL PEOPLE at the time
thought the charge was a garbled reference to Sayres’ predecessor, Dennis
White, who took a post with the Humane Society of the U.S. after 19 years
with AHA. White was not known to have particular friction with the children’s
division, and recent AHA budgetary difficulties seem to reflect a combination
of growing demand for disaster aid with increased competition from
other organizations for both animal and child protection donors.
Although the AHA animal division has raised more money than the
children’s division for about 15 to 20 years, the children’s division essentially
supported the animal division for most of the 100 years before that.