Humane Society Issues Open Letter to Community

An Open Letter to the Clinton County Community

From:  Humane Society of Clinton County Board of Directors

The Humane Society of Clinton County Board of Directors has remained silent too long. We have chosen to take the high road, thinking that was the best way to deal with the transition from one staff to another.  We have steadfastly worked at making the shelter a much cleaner and healthier atmosphere for all the animals, personnel and the community members who visit us and our 4 legged friends.

However, the continued attacks from a small group of people have left us little choice but to respond and let the community as a whole know the facts regarding the shelter.  The stories and comments that have been circulating through social media are pure fabrications.  A group of individuals, angered over the dismissal of the director, have chosen to spread rumors through social media.  Their untrue accusations have prompted the County Commissioners to have an independent auditor to look over the financial records of the Humane Society.  We have no problem with this.  We are more than willing to comply and to present it to the Commissioners in an open meeting.  We are confident that nothing irregular will be found.  It’s just that this is causing our nonprofit to spend valuable and unnecessary time and financial resources.

When we entered the shelter after the previous employees left, we found the building and grounds in poor condition. Our main activities the first three weeks were:

  • Cleaning every kennel gutter. All were packed to the top with feces, small dishes, leashes and pieces of toys.  A drain specialist was called in to clean them all.
  • Disposing of 8000 pounds of dog and cat food that was molding in the feed pod
  • Updating our database: The Shelter Manager program had some animals listed, but very few. Those that were listed had no real information other than the animal’s name, a picture and when they entered the shelter. Pertinent health care, vaccinations and protocol were not documented.
  • Fixed the incinerator that was not functioning due to having plastic bags, bottles and a decomposed dog in it
  • Disposing of bags of expired medicines which had been prescribed by Purdue and our local veterinarians for dogs following spay/neuter and which had never been administered.
  • Disposing of flea and heartworm medication that had never been given and was allowed to expire.
  • Depositing uncashed checks from 2017 and also cash that was laying in plain sight of anyone who happened by

We have worked steadily to improve the health and welfare of all the animals. In order to do this our board contracted with a licensed shelter veterinarian to evaluate all the animals’ health and to institute disinfecting procedures.  At least 50 cats were suffering from upper respiratory infections.  A veterinary technician was hired by the interim director to handle all medicating of animals and continues to care for the health of all animals. He also hired staff to train as kennel technicians.

On the first day of the shelter’s new management, It was discovered there was a dog infected with the parvovirus.  The dog had not been taken to the veterinarian even though some of the volunteers had asked several days prior.  Sadly, no parvovirus protocol was in place.  If it had been, we would have been aware we had a problem.  As a result, a beautiful dog died overnight.  We immediately started protocol.  Since very few records were found, local veterinarians volunteered their services to vaccinate all dogs in the shelter.  We were very fortunate that we only lost 3 more dogs; one senior and 2 pups to the parvovirus.

We are now moving forward!

  • Every animal that leaves our shelter is spayed or neutered.
  • All are completely vaccinated, including rabies, if they are old enough.
  • All animals are evaluated, weighed and vaccinated within 24 hours of entering the shelter.
  • Animal Control is operating daily. We do not chase stray animals, but if a call comes into the shelter or dispatch, animal control responds.
  • We are NOT euthanizing animals at the shelter at all. We are as close to a no-kill shelter as we can be.  If an animal is so badly injured or sick and suffering, they are taken to a local veterinarian and together a decision is made as to whether this animal is better off getting medical help or being euthanized by a veterinarian.
  • We do not, contrary to some rumors, refuse admittance to the shelter of any animals. If we are at capacity, we discuss surrenders on a case-by-case basis and may initiate a waiting list and reach out to our foster homes.
  • We do not refuse “pit bulls” and haven’t in the past 10+ years. Many of the animals we currently house are bullies. In fact, most of the dogs we walked in the Christmas parade were bullies.
  • We have finished the roof over the outside west runs and tarps have been installed. This has been an ongoing project for a year and we have parceled the construction of the project as actual money became available. The Margaret Farrell estate has given us the finances to finish the project.
  • New high efficiency furnaces will be being installed later in the winter. The current ones have been there since the building was first opened and need to be replaced to help curb heating costs.
  • The Board has been requesting a prioritized list of essential needs for quite some time and these are the projects that our interim director and the board determined needed to be prioritized after taking over the management of the shelter.
  • We have $64,000 in a Certificate of Deposit. This is what is left from a large bequest made to the shelter several years ago. The board has resisted using those funds for things we have been able to manage through grants and donations.  We have two aging vehicles that will need to be replaced someday. Rather than going to the county commissioners, we would draw on those funds, if necessary.

We are gratified to report our animal adoptions are at an all-time record pace; a testimony to the refined operation of the shelter and it’s professional, caring staff.

Please feel free to come and visit.  Staff and the board members will be happy to give you a tour any afternoon. We continue our mission:  Saving  Animals – Serving Community.


The Board of Directors

The Humane Society of Clinton County