GUIDESTAR STATEMENT Wednesday, March 09, 2011
It is truly unfortunate that the people who posted reviews in the last few weeks had no other forum with which to voice their concerns/opinions.
As the President of the Board of Directors (BOD) for PAL Humane Society, I will take this opportunity to address some of the issues stated in the reviews.
Kathi Schlintz, founder/CEO started PAL 18 years ago with the intent to help animals. During her tenure with PAL she has provided leadership which resulted in more than 13,000 animals being adopted and contributed not only her time but much of her own money to keep PAL running. In the last year after suffering from the worst economic decline our country has had since the 1930’s PAL was faced with many challenges which Kathi persevered through. In addition to PAL’s challenges, Mrs. Schlintz was faced with many personal and health challenges, Kathi has been discussing retiring for the last year, and was actively looking for someone to “take over” and keep the PAL team going.
Kathi has been very introspective with the many statements made of late in the negative reviews posted here. With her concern for PAL’s best interest and in light of her personal challenges, Kathi Schlintz has tendered her resignation from PAL Humane Society.
As PAL Humane Society is a Non-Profit Organization, the Board is and has been the driving force in most if not all of the major decisions made for the organization. It is regretful that some of these decisions did not pan out as planned, very often; even the best laid plans for a business are not successful. We now have several new Board members, new officers and in light of Mrs. Schlintz’s resignation, we have absorbed complete responsibility for the management of PAL.
The following changes have been made with regards to our operating procedures:
• As President I will be overseeing the day to day operations and reporting to the BOD monthly on our progress. In addition, I will be managing the Wrightwood Project which includes the property donated to PAL in 2010.
• The BOD will be responsible for fundraising and planning as well as staff/Human Relations/Public Relations/procedural/financial decisions.
• Mary Shanks will be supervising animal services. (with final decisions regarding euthanasia coming from the BOD & recommendation from a Veterinarian)
• Additional employees will be responsible for data entry, accounting, volunteers and our many programs.
After extensive investigation both with physical records and interviews with staff the BOD found the following:
• With regards to allegations of misconduct with animals;
No incidences of medical attention being withheld were found. (this was confirmed by veterinarian records)
Total Intake for 2010 - 44 cats, 73 dogs
Sick/treated animals 2010 - 21 cats (some with recurring illness), 7 dogs; of these, 2 dogs treated at the hospital for parvo, the rest treated at PAL under vet recommendations. 2 of the cats were treated at the hospital, the rest treated at PAL under vet recommendations.
• With regards to animals being euthanized without cause;
1 dog and 12 cats (11- leukemia positive, 1-upper respiratory with very poor prognosis) were euthanized due to health issues.
(All recommended by our veterinarian)
3 dogs were euthanized due to temperament issues. (recommendation based on a consensus of animal professionals)
• With regards to the Explorer Post;
The BOD voted to disband the Explorer post as it was determined not to be within the scope of PAL Humane Society’s focus. Monies collected were absorbed into the general program fund.
• With regards to the Herdina grant money being misused;
During the audit in February it was found that in 2009 there was a balance of $3991.44 in unused/expired vouchers, this has been rolled over into 2011; in addition a balance of $5.35 was rolled over from 2010 into 2011’s fund. (this has been submitted and confirmed by the Herdina grant coordinator)
The following will be available for public viewing at PAL Humane Society’s Adoption Center/Headquarters Tues.-Sat. 10AM-4PM, located at 22148 Hwy 18, Apple Valley, CA 92307:
• Monthly minutes of non-sensitive information from the Board meetings. (current year only)
• Yearly tax records in the form of IRS 990 documents. (Also available on Guidestar)
I was a former volunteer helping out a fellow employee that was , not to an extreme degree, overworked on weekends. I aided her countless times in a professional and timely manner. Dogs and cats alike were treated very well on the outside looking in. My review is more for the leadership of pals. From the moment I heard about kathi she was portrayed as a very cold boss. When I first met her I was not met with a greeting but a cold stare as if I was not wanted. My first instinct was to leave but the employees workload was very high and I personally had the time. As time went on I saw number of times the employee I helped come in tears from the reprimand kathi gave her. In all honesty I saw nothing wrong with her work ethics. The employee met and even exceeded her job. But it was never good enough because kathi seemed to have a personal vendetta against her. Even the other employees and volunteers understood it. My main point is that the management isn't what you would consider a management place. Instead of acting like a boss kathi and even some of the workers made it as a like based notion. Disregarding hard work but in turn if you were her friend you were treated with some form of respect. Pals mission is a great one. Management tactics must change for the sake of that mission or the ones who suffer will be the animals.
Review from Guidestar
This review is not being written with the intent to do harm to PAL. It is intended to provide a volunteer's perspective and hopefully constructive criticism. I have read all of the posted reviews and would like to make one thing absolutely clear. I am writing this review of my own volition. No one has asked or coerced me into doing so. I have no ax to grind. I have nothing to gain and nothing to lose. Let me start by saying that volunteering should be an intrinsically rewarding experience. There is no monetary compensation but we want to do it because it feels good to help others be they two-leggers or four-leggers. However, I would have to give my volunteer experience at PAL mixed reviews. This is due to a number of reasons. First of all, I would like to express some positives. I met some great people that also love animals and that gave 100% plus in their efforts to assist PAL with it's goals. The Senior/Pet Connection program, in my opinion, is one of the most effective and impactful programs that PAL offers. Livia does a great job keeping it organized and functional. With regard to the animals in PAL's charge, I never saw any that were mistreated, intentionally neglected, etc. Staff members and volunteers kept areas as clean as possible and were affectionate with the animals. I honestly believe that they were caring and compassionate caregivers that did everything in their power to give the animals a home away from home and a chance at finding a permanent home. Getting animals adopted was exciting. However, there are many areas that could use some major improvement. One of my biggest concerns for the future of PAL is how resources are managed--both financial and human. I don't have access to PAL's financial status, records, etc. so I cannot really comment too much on that area but I have many questions. Is it really just a bad economy? What are the priorities? Is there really transparency with regard to how funds are spent? When there are limited funds, shouldn't the animals be the first priority? I know there are long term goals for organizational development but sometimes you have to go back to basics. In some ways, I think they have tried to do just that but there is a complete lack of focus. It is onto the next big idea without thinking things through. Unfortunately, that speaks to lack of leadership. There is a vision but the follow through is weak. There are people that love animals, are passionate about saving them, but are not equiped to be in a leadership role. Which brings me to management of human resources. Like it or not, it takes people to make an organization successful. It would be impossible for one person to perform all of the necessary tasks. When you have good people working for you, you need to try to retain them. Turnover is costly in many ways. It can be financially expensive, it causes problems with morale, it can really affect overall performance of an organization. It is difficult to feel sorry for someone that complains about being shorthanded but makes little effort to keep people there. I realize that there are constraints on a non-profit as far as being able to pay a competitive wage but there are other ways to keep people around. One is showing true appreciation for their efforts and not using an authoritarian leadership style. People need and want to be inspired to work for you. Fear of reprecussions is not a good motivational tool and will eventually (if not swiftly) lead to turnover. Another issue that I had a problem with was how the Herdina Grant was handled. I don't know the financial details--whether there was or wasn't money in the account, etc. I just know that there were people in need of assistance and they were given excuses not straight answers. Many filled out applications, left messages, waited for a response and got none. Why? Why should they have to call back several times and not get some definitive answer so that they can decide what to do? Dodging calls was a pervasive pattern. And it was the volunteers that had to speak to these people over and over again trying to explain why they had not received a response. I just got to the point where I didn't want anything to do with the phones. This practice was not only ineffective but unethical and unprofessional. That is why I gave this organization the lowest rating. Unethical behavior toward clients is not acceptable in my book. And when you see a breech of ethics in one area, chances are good that things are not as they should be in other areas. As a volunteer with a conscience, you want to distance yourself from that whole situation. In closing, I want to reiterate that this is not meant as a personal attack but it is difficult to address these issues without questioning leadership. It does seem to be the common denominator. Ultimately, that is where responsibility lies. Leadership doesn't have to be warm & fuzzy but it needs to be effective. And people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of how one feel's about them. It is in the best interest of the animals. I would love to see PAL succeed and have more of a positive impact on our community. The concept is great but the execution needs a lot of work. With the high number of negative reviews, one must lend credence to these concerns. They aren't just disgruntled former employees/volunteers. I personally observed many of them putting their heart and sole into PAL. But there is only so much one can give or put up with before they have to save themselves. Maybe that is what has happened to Kathi. Maybe she is burned out or overwhelmed and needs to turn PAL over to someone that can breathe new life into it.
I too was a former employee, and I can say I loved it there at one point. Who wouldn’t enjoy the unconditional love received from the animals? But the unfair treatment from kathi to volunteers and employees was constant. Kathi’s treatment towards me personally was being talked down to, 'disciplined' in front of other employees, volunteers, and often customers. She would never pull me aside and talk to me about it, rather say whatever was on her mind no matter how rude or whoever was there. She was also this way with volunteers, speaking whatever was on her mind about them. in particular about 2 new volunteers that happen to be gay, saying that they would donate lots of money because of the fact they were gay.
And the poor animals there, for about 2months there were mother cats and kittens in the so-called clinic not being given the proper medications when they were sick. Having to go in and wipe their eyes with a warm wash cloth so they could open their eyes to see and their nose to be able to breathe a little bit more comfortable twice or more daily was horrible. And the dogs being in a 5by 5 kennel 24hrs a day was mean and cruel as well.
By the time the money came in and we moved to the new location the cats were finally tested and given their vaccines (which all of the kittens, ranging from 6months to 9months were never given)
Turned out that about 15 kittens and one adult cat had come down with Leukemia. They were all put down. The kittens that were adopted before the money came in were never tested. when i spoke up and asked if i should call the adopters to bring them in to get tested i was simply told, "If they have it, they have it." And when volunteer’s employees and customers asked about them, they were told they were all adopted. All of that could have been prevented.
And 2 sibling puppies were also put down because they were shy and timid around people. PUPPIES could be worked with, but instead were put down. And as for a dog named foxy which was a pit bull terrier was taken to the shelter and put down because she jumped fences! NOT because she was a pit bull terrier, she was AWESOME with other dogs, children of all ages, men, women, everyone. Not ever once gave a snarl but always a friendly lick to the face. She as well could have been worked with or have found the right home for her.
Another dog the kraken was also taken to the pound and put down right after he growled at kathi as she stood there and yelled at him instead of backing away. By the way he was tied to the door in a corner eating when she came around the corner and startled him.
And right away she told Mary that he needed to go, that no dog was going to growl at her. He too could have been worked with.
I guess you can still call them a no-kill shelter since they only did the things that lead up to it and let either the vet or Apple Valley animal control do the killings.
And I am no longer there because of how generous kathi is.
When the money finally came in I was made full time again and I also found out I was pregnant. when I told kathi this she slowly started cutting my hours from 40 to 20, 10, 8, 6 and finally not working for 3 weeks straight. I did the same job there that Mary shanks did, and I was being told theres no work right now for my department. How was there no work when Mary would constantly come to me saying she’s so stressed because kathi never lets her get her job done. There were always piles and piles of paper work on marys desk that could have been given to me. So finally after three weeks of not working I was sent a txt message saying for me to come in. kathi and Mary had a meeting with me saying I can stay on with the little work that’s coming in or she can lay me off and I can collect unemployment. Of course she had planned the whole thing so I could only really have one choice. Its funny how she was telling me make sure I put on the unemployment papers that there was lack of work, not that I was pregnant. She made sure to tell me about 5 times....
Also no one should take the negitive reviews as in trying to shut PAL down, but as in trying to change the way its managed. Ive seen other comments as to we're trying to shut it down and we're going to hurt the animals. The animals are already hurting due to lack of care. The animals there can sense when were not happy, and in turn make them uncomfortable around us. So yes, we need to have happy employees and volunteers there to make the animals happy. So for all of those who said we're hurting the animals, we're not. We stayed as long as we could because we truly do love and care for them. But sadly one person seems to run us all off. All the negitive reviews are from people who actually spent time there, not just one day or came in to drop off a donation, so how would they really know whats its like there? Know the facts before you start throwing out that we want to shut PAL down. Because from my eyes we're the only ones who really seem to care about whats going on.
Oh by the way, is that Wright Wood house given to PAL in a Will ready for rent yet? Or is it still being used for Kathi's personal get away?
I received this message from Dawn Coffman or Dawn Baker which is signed.. .and please read the message that I wrote to her under her message to me...
From: Dawn Coffman [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2011 3:34 PM
Cc: Chris Baker
Subject: PAL Humane Society Review necessary
I think you should take a closer look one of the Organizations you have an association with...
I can send internal e mails for additional information and misconduct.
iGive donations to Crosswalk Schools = http://www.iGive.com/welcome/warmwelcome.cfm?c=56719&m=685906
From: Sr Pauline Quinn op [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2011 4:30 PM
To: 'Dawn Coffman'; 'email@example.com'
Cc: 'Chris Baker'
Subject: RE: PAL Humane Society Review necessary
What ever you have against the Pal Humane Society, or how ever they have hurt you, I am sorry to hear this and feel bad for you that you are this angry and upset with them that you would try and hurt them with slander. It is slander of another in what you are doing. When we treat people like this, then it shows that there is a problem, but not always with the people who are being criticized
There is a big world out there with so many different types of people… and sometimes people do things that hurt us… sometimes they seem like they don’t care or can misunderstand the other. Sometimes they might even do something on purpose that goes against the grain of what they should be doing.. but all of us have made mistakes in our lives… you, me and everyone… and to try and bring them down for any mistakes that they might have made is the opposite of my belief. I like to try and help people up… that is why I help the prisoners in the dog programs that I have started around the country because many of those prisoners did major things to hurt people.. and do I sit back and try and pull them down farther for all the bad things that they did in their life… or do I go out there and try and do things to make their lives better so even if they stay in prison for the rest of their life, they might do something to help someone else while in prison.
Perhaps you can take all this anger you have for PAL Humane Society… and go out there and do something good for someone else… to make a difference in other people’s lives because that wouldn't hurt this world.
Things have a way in taking care of itself… people change… situations that seem negative get better… all sorts of things change but the greatest change that we can make in this world, is to change our own selves… to focus on our own lives instead of the lives of others who you might have had a negative experience with.
I can’t say that I have had the same experience as you. I have been there to PAL many times… I have helped them start their prison program… and I have seen them take good care of their dogs…
If you really want to get upset in how dogs and cats are being taken care of, then go to Haiti, Africa or other countries where I have worked and see what is being done to them… and what I have seen at PAL, is a caring group of people who are trying to make a difference in the lives of animals.. that is the main and most important focus that we should all live by..
Peace, Sr Pauline Quinn op
Lyingdog called all the other posts for Pal Humane Society a “smear campaign”. A smear campaign implies slander. Why would everyone here lie about their experiences? What good would that do? I understand that some of the situations presented by other posters many seem outrageous, even downright ridiculous. Sadly, I know from personal experience and observation that this is not the case. What you are reading happened and is happening. It’s true that PAL is currently run by only a few staff members, but hat has not always been the case, and the economy is not the only culprit. People need to start asking questions! Why is the turnover rate for volunteers and employees so high at PAL? Why, after 18 years, is PAL still struggling so hard just to make ends meet? Why has PAL had to move umpteen times in those past 18 years? Why does mentioning “PAL” or the name “Kathi Schlintz” in many community and civic circles result in waves of hostility? Why are there are so many disgruntled employees/volunteers. Why is everyone so upset with PAL CEO/President Katherine Schlintz?
Not providing wages owed to employees on posted date/time per the labor code.
Not providing legally required breaks to employees per the labor code.
Expecting employees to work overtime without pay, and suggesting terminations would result if employees did not participate in unpaid overtime.
Lack of training for employees’ assigned positions.
Lack of guidance/support for volunteers.
Misappropriation of funds including, but not limited to, grants, donations, bequests, program/membership dues, and fund-raising profits for specific programs.
The belittling and berating of volunteers, employees, clients, and board members, both publicly and surreptitiously.
Attempting to pit employees against each other through malicious untruths and gossip.
Attempting to pit employees against volunteers, and vice versa, through malicious untruths and gossip.
Attempting to pit employees against board members, and vice versa, through malicious untruths and gossip.
Not providing appropriate/timely medical care to animals entrusted into PAL’s care.
Blatant disregard for the dangers of animal overcrowding, particularly in regard to cats.
Favoring cats over dogs in regard to intake for the adoption program.
Unprofessional behavior including, but not limited to, tantrums, the sharing of sensitive/private employee/board member/volunteer/client information with other employees/board members/volunteers/clients, the malicious discussion of former employees/board members/volunteers/clients with current employees/board members/volunteers/clients, blatant condescension toward others, and an attitude of entitlement.
Not paying community businesses for services rendered in a timely manner, if at all.
Not paying rent in a timely manner, if at all.
Badmouthing said businesses/landlords when contacted and asked to make payment.
Constant project development and execution, including the spending of PAL funds, with little or no follow through.
And the list could go on and on. As stated by other posters, PAL was a great concept, and could have been a great organization, and it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that non-profits are run by saints who put the mission of the organization ahead of themselves. However, without an accountable president/CEO or an effective board of directors, PAL Humane Society will be what it has always been – a half-assed attempt at something that is really no more than an ego boost for Katherine Schlintz. And who bears the burden for this more than anyone else? Not the mistreated employees or volunteers, not the stiffed businesses, and not the duped donors. It’s the animals PAL claims to be helping. They are the ones who truly suffer. Think about that before you donate time or money to this organization.
I volunteered for PAL for 4 months during the spring and summer. I was so excited to find a no-kill shelter in my area and when I first started to work there, I was thrilled. At first I worked in the cat rooms doing the morning clean ups.
For the most part, the cleaning was not a problem but the treatment of the volunteers was. Any time one volunteer made a mistake, Kathi took it out on ALL of the volunteers. More then once I heard her threaten to let go of all the volunteers because of a mistake from one volunteer and she generally talked down to them.
I did not get to really see how terrible it was until I started working in the gift shop, answering phone and assisting guests.
We got a lot of calls from seniors with sick pets and who needed help from the Herdina Grant. When we got these calls we were told to tell them that the program was on hold for now but would be back in about a month and to call again then. Other times they called because they already submitted an application for the grant and wanted to know what was going on with their application. We were told to tell those people that their applications were still being reviewed. We always took down the callers name and number and reason for their call so that Kathi could call them back regarding the grant. A few days later, they would call back, and tell us that Kathi never called and that their pet still needed vet care and they wanted a real answer. Sadly, the volunteers who worked the phones could never give them the real answer and all we could do was take another message for Kathi that would be ignored.
To this day I don't know why those people were never helped or why we had to keep running them in circles when they were in need of help, but it was a major factor in my decision to leave.
I've found PAL to be a very professional although sometimes hectic place of business. I know that they have had hard times in this economy and frankly what Non-Profit hasn't... From my point of view Kathi & Mary run PAL with a great deal of expertise. Reading some of the posts listed (all in 1 or 2 days) it looks to me like a “smear” campaign designed by disgruntled employees. How unfortunate since it appears that they all want to help animals… And that is, from my experience just what PAL does. When there are only a few people running a very busy organization, there isn’t always time for hugs, kisses and singing kumbia. Real world, never enough time to do what needs to be done with any small non-profit.
For me the proof is in the actions, I don’t really care if anyone likes the person running the place! Are the animals being saved? Are they cared for in a humane way? Is money being spent according to non-profit rules? The answer is yes to all of these things. Don’t believe it, just as them, all non-profits are public entities and as such are subject to public scrutiny.
Review from Guidestar
I worked at PAL with my wife trying to run the Explore program for Kathi after she asked me if I would like a job there as the Humane Education person and I accepted. Any time that I asked for any kind of training and for direction I was told we need to schedule time and when I tried to schedule time I was brushed off. Over the course of 7 months my wife and I donated well over $300.00 a month to PAL and none of the money we donated was used for what it was intended...this include money we donated for a friend's dog who passed away and we bought him a leaf on the "Tree of Life"...when I asked Kathi point blank about the "Tree of Life" she said that it was not her responsibility to finish this project as a board member started it so the board member should finish it...but when I asked her about where it was going to be put she said that she did not have time to deal with it right now she need to run to Home Depot to buy paint for the cattery. So we donated money for a project that never come to be...what happened to the money? If you look at my wife's post she has the emails that go back and forth between PAL and ourselves about the Explore program and it states that if we require a refund to make a request for one and they would ensure we received it...well almost a year later and still no refund. People like Kathi are the biggest reason people do not go out into their communities and help. She gives Non-Profits a bad name and disheartens many people who just want to help.
When I first was hired at PAL, I was so excited to be working for such an awesome organization. I thought I had finally found a place to work that shared my love for animals. The concept of PAL was great, however, I soon found out that things were not as they seemed. The entire organization is based on lies. PAL continually asks the public for donations to fund programs that no longer exist. The “Education Program” was a joke. PAL boasted about having the first Explorer Post of it’s kind, however the kids were never given a chance to learn what the program was intended to teach themand then it was eliminated. The “Prison Program” at the juvenile detention center and at the Federal prison was supposed to rehabilitate the inmates by teaching them to train the rescued dogs to make them more adoptable. This program was only started so that PAL would be eligible to obtain grant money and the dogs never benefitted from the program itself since many times PAL’s own therapy dog and even employee dogs were taken into the facilities. PAL also receives a grant each year from the Herdina Fund, which is supposed to be used solely to help low-income seniors with the vet care that they may not otherwise be able to give their pets. For a year and a half, people who requested the vouchers were lied to on a daily basis when they were told that PAL was out of funding for that program, but in reality, the funds had been spent elsewhere. Staff and volunteers were treated horribly. Donors and board members were/are kept in the dark about PAL’s finances and were always shown unrealistic budgets that were false.
If PAL is the only “no-kill shelter in the High Desert”, why were all the dogs put down when they moved to the new facility because they didn’t want to house them there? And if PAL is in such bad need of funding, then why are they hiring a larger staff, when they are far less animals now since they no longer house the dogs? The only two services that brought an income to PAL (grooming and training) were cut out. Why? The staff went for weeks, and then months without pay, but continued to stay at PAL because of their love of the animals there. But they were berated daily and expected to do twice the work without pay. If they questioned Kathi about their pay, they were given the “oh well” attitude and brushed off. Kathi (owner/founder) has continually falsified documents to hide the truth from everyone. Any staff member or volunteer that got “too close” mysteriously got “let go”. As you can read from all the previous comments, the public needs to take a serious look at PAL and how it is ran. I think the owner has a few questions to answer!