Fence Mending Has Begun

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President Clinton recently admitted there have been times when he's felt like a fire hydrant surrounded by a pack of dogs.

Odds are pretty high that the board members of the Payson Humane Society have felt the same way.

In recent weeks, those embattled board members have been growled at by animal lovers around the Rim country over a clash between the board and the animal shelter management which resulted in the resignation of the entire shelter staff.

Although the board may have had the shelter's best intentions at heart, the antagonistic manner in which it handled the turnover only served to aggravate an issue already inflamed by strong emotions.

Since those early mistakes, however, board members have worked hard to overcome their inexperience and handle things with a more professional tone. And for that, we commend them.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the change of shelter staff, it's immediately apparent by talking with board members that their hearts were in the right place. The fact that they agreed to a meeting with the Pet Pals' ad-hoc committee -- a meeting they were convinced would turn into a bitter battle of ideals -- shows their commitment to the shelter.

The board also would do well to open up its meetings, its minutes, its financial statements. Secrecy and concealment will only further the suspicions of the doomsayers.

That openness and responsiveness builds trust, and without trust, any organization that relies on public donations will flounder.

While the play-by-play result of that joint meeting won't be revealed until next Thursday's Pet Pal meeting, the fact that both parties report that it was productive and constructive should assuage any fears that an 'inhumane' war was a brewin'.

If you are concerned about the welfare of the four-legged tenants of Payson's animal shelter, stop by for a visit. Staff members will be happy to give you a tour, show you the changes they've made, and introduce you to the pet that's just right for your family.

If you're still not convinced that all is well at the shelter, attend next Thursday night's Pet Pals meeting and listen to the committee. They'll tell you that there's a renewed sense of cooperation building between the board and its members.

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