I've worked closely with numerous non-profits for over 20 years. From everything I've witnessed, this staff, along with its volunteers and donors, are the real deal. They are doing the tough work day in and day out that is making an impact.
I knew the donkey named Pasado who used to live in peace at a farm near a city.
I was outraged at his senseless death, but inspired by the group who took his name and changed history.
I am so proud of the ceaseless, selfless work that this non profit has done for my state of Washington. Crimes against animals are now punishable by real jail time, removal of the abused, and fines to hit places like puppy mills hardest.
I understand completely Pasado's use of the media to spread news of abusers; I am impressed by the Spay Station and ALL volunteers. They get the farm work, educational tours, rescues, court appearances and, fostering, spaying and neutering DONE. DAILY. Dedicated and deserving of any award.
Like many people, my experience with Pasado’s started off positive. I was impressed with the passion for animal welfare shown by all of the staff, and by how well the animals appeared to be cared for. However, as time went on, I became disenchanted with Pasado’s for many reasons. The number one reason for my disenchantment was the lack of follow through in the life of an animal once it was brought to the organization. All of the focus was on the immediate rescue—the glory of removing an animal from a terrible situation. Once the animal was on the property, however, it was forgotten by everyone except the caretakers who took care of it on a daily basis, often at the cost of taking time and care away from other animals. The caretakers were the ones who had to watch as animals suffered due to inadequate care because there were not enough resources or time to take care of everyone properly, despite putting in hours and hours of overtime every week. Despite being constantly short staffed, animals continued to come in, against the protests of the people who actually knew and worked with the animals every day. Conditions continued to worsen as the number of animals increased and the number of caretakers decreased.
Another reason I became disenchanted with Pasado’s was the enforcement of the vegan policy, even when it led to a direct negative impact on the animals. While already two caretakers short staffed, a perfectly capable and qualified caretaker was “let go” for storing a non-vegan item on site. There were no intermediate steps in the process—no verbal warnings, no written write-ups. She was just fired. How on earth does firing a skilled caretaker who took exemplary care of the animals benefit anyone? In all seriousness, can anyone explain how any animals, onsite or out in the world, benefitted from that action? Is the “mission” of being vegan really more important than providing care for the animals that Pasado’s has taken responsibility for?
The final, and most pressing cause of disenchantment for me, was the promotion of a completely inexperienced, unqualified individual as the Interim Animal Care Manager. As a caretaker, she had already proved herself to be inadequate by failing to provide appropriate care to the animals for which she was responsible. She was not experienced enough to know how important it was to inform the veterinarian that a cat (Harvey Dent) was vomiting and had diarrhea for three days, which resulted in him not being treated for Panleukopenia (kitty Parvo) until he was already critically ill, and very nearly died because of it. She never actually learned how to take care of all the animals on the property, despite the fact that she is now responsible for making decisions about the care of every animal at Pasado’s. Her so-called “managerial experience” supposedly qualified her for the position, but she did not prove to be competent in that area either. She neglected to inform multiple caretakers, on multiple occasions, that she switched their days off, in addition to scheduling people to work six, seven, or even eight days in a row without consulting them first. If she doesn’t know how to take care of animals, and clearly doesn’t know how to manage people, why is she still in this position with a strong potential for a permanent promotion? The only reason I can see is that she is vegan, and therefore “more aligned with the mission” than any of the other caretakers (who all had more professional animal care experience than her,) who are not vegan. Pasado’s may as well put an addendum on all of the new job postings that says, “Non-vegans (no matter how well qualified) need not apply,” because that is where the organization is going.
In addition to the Interim Animal Care Manager having no animal care experience, the Executive Director also has absolutely no experience with running an animal shelter. How does the Board of Directors rationalize putting people with no knowledge of animals into power? What right do they have to make decisions about animal care when they have no notion of the consequences of their choices? Their lack of understanding has already led to a dramatic decrease in standards of animal care, and I can only imagine that they will continue slipping.
Don’t just take my word for it—please take a look behind the pretty picture that Pasado’s paints on its website and on social media. The reality is a much darker image than the one presented to the public.
Linda LaMar 02/10/2014
I applaud the fact that you have transparently voiced your position. I regret that before resigning simultaneously with three of your team, you made no effort to air your concerns with any board member. Instead, you chose to anonymously lay down a screed of non-contextual, false and misleading information after leaving the organization. To address some of your points- Pasado's seeks to hire the most experienced and qualified candidates possible for the care-taking roles. A positive, team oriented attitude is also an important attribute for these and all employees because rescuing and caring for neglected and abused animals is difficult, unpredictable work. The vegan policy is one of many policies that are in place at the sanctuary, it is not more or less important than any other policy. We do not require employees to be vegan. Our policy to disallow animal foods is limited to the sanctuary premises. The Interim Animal Care Manager has stepped up under difficult circumstances and is hard at work putting together a qualified experienced care-giving team and training plan. Laura Henderson is a highly competent management professional with a deep abiding passion for animal welfare. Her goal is to put together the best possible team to execute on the mission of the organization and to manage donor dollars responsibly and effectively. As you have also suggested, readers are warmly welcomed to visit the sanctuary for a first hand view of the hard work that goes on there and to visit with the animals. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at LindaL@Pasadosafehaven.org
I've worked for Pasado's for a year and a half and have witnessed the organization make enormous strides in that time.
I am an employee with Pasado's and I feel honored and grateful every day for the gift of being able to come to work in this beautiful place, with these amazing animals and the people who care for them.
I see the staff's care, concern and skill with the animals that we all work to save, and the volunteer's dedication to the animals living areas and enrichment activities and I am humbled every day and uplifted at the generosity of the humans who try so hard to be more like the animals we serve. Resilient, enthusiastic, caring and accepting.
Pasado's is such a great sanctuary with happy, healthy animals! It's a truly admirable organization!
Pasado’s Safe Haven is awe-inspiring in its committment to ending all animal cruelty and suffering, rescuing animals in need, educating the public about animal welfare, and finding forever homes for the animals it's rescued. Pasado's is driven by a dedicated team of compassionate staff and volunteers, whole-heartedly advancing an unrelenting vision of a future free of violence towards all animals. Being involved in the movement alongside Pasado's is incredibly powerful and life changing. Pasado's has saved countless lives and will continue to save countless more. I'm lucky to continue to be a part of the journey!
Having worked at Pasado’s as an independent contractor from May 2011 to January 2012 I’ve spent a lot of time around the staff and have always found them to be positive, friendly, professional, extremely dedicated to the mission and to the animals at the Sanctuary.