Shelter Was Not Being Run The Way It Should Be

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by Jim Phinney
Payson Humane Society Board of Directors

As spokesman for the Board of Directors of the Payson Humane Society, I submit that the board has delayed too long in airing its account of the recent shelter upheaval. We, also, were lulled into complacency thinking the shelter was being run properly -- it was not.

We on the board thought the managers could have been more humane in their treatment of animals as they put them to death.

When the current board took over, we had little actual knowledge of the shelter's financial conditions. We saw a need to revise operating procedures, lines of communication and authority. Our income from our fund-raising endeavors had dropped sufficiently, so we as a board had to address our expenditures.

In September 1998, we presented to the shelter employees adjustments in salaries, medical insurance, hours of operation and operating procedures we felt had to be made to eliminate the continued use of our assets for daily operation. We admit we handled the presentation badly and subsequently the board withdrew those policy changes.

We presented a new shelter policy to the managers Jan. 27, which were to become effective Feb. 1. Mrs. Bradford, shelter manager, called the president of the board and informed her that the whole staff was resigning. The following morning, the Bradfords presented their resignations. Miss Allison Young, an employee, stated her resignation was being typed. It was subsequently received. The Bradfords' daughter, Debbie, then submitted her hand-written resignation. The staff requested a two-week notice, but since the board of directors wanted to institute the new policies on Feb. 1, the decision was made to end their employment at the end of that day, Jan. 28.

From October through December, as board-member liaison, I visited the shelter several times a week to try to establish communication between the shelter and the board. Many times I tried to get the managers to change their euthanasia methods to using tranquilizers to calm the animals so their final injection could be done accurately. They continually said it was too expensive and took too long. I then decided I should witness their method.

I was sickened by the whole ordeal. What I witnessed I believe was needlessly cruel and will never happen again as long as I am associated with the shelter. I do agree with the former managers that using tranquilizers is time-consuming and expensive. Every animal now put to sleep, no matter how long it takes, is dealt with as kindly and painlessly as possible.

Every suggestion I made as shelter liaison was turned down, including a method to end the infestation of mice in stored dry pet food. This was to protest both animals and humans from possible deadly viral infections, including hanta virus. Since the managers' and staff's resignations, the shelter now stores the food in containers readily available on the premises during their tenure. I'm pleased to say that the mice infestation has ended.

Gallons of paint which had been stored inside beside the hot water heater (the former managers had refused to move them) are now stored outside in a metal cabinet. The euthanasia material (a controlled substance), previously kept in a coffee can in the kitchen stove's oven, is now properly stored in a locked cabinet. The removal of an accumulation of years of trash and filth is being accomplished -- the work, however, is not yet completed.

As of this writing, the shelter has three employees. Hiring to complete the crew should be concluded soon. The shelter staff and the board of directors welcome your visit. There is no emergency at the shelter anymore.

Our Articles of Incorporation state there will be a meeting of corporation members on June 15 of each year. The time and location of this year's meeting will be sent to each member in May. Thanks for your past, current and future help.

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