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December 31, 2012
2 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
December 31, 2012
2 people found this review helpful

This organization has greatly compromised its mission as "the only open admission shelter in the Portland Metro Area" in order to pay extraordinary salaries to top administrators who intimidate their employees from speaking out. They no longer accept cats in need unless they have an appointment (i.e. are on a waiting list) and they have recently announced that they are going to close to the public one day a week. And what's this about asking for a "merger" with one of the other local animal sheltering facilities that has figured out how to do things right? Seems that the HSSW has given up, and is now trying to hitch their wagon to a successful organization because they don't know what to do next. Please kind people, dig deeper, and then find an organization that is truly worth your donations.

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

August 16, 2011

We have adopted 8 animals (both cats and dogs) from the Humane Society of SW Washington over the past 25 years. The organization has continued to grow and develop and is now one of the best in the Northwest if not the United States. HSSW moved into a new shelter 2 years ago which has now been totally paid for by private donors. The quality of care and outreach as continued to improve. HSSW works closely and collaboratively with other shelters and animal rescue organizations throught the Portland/Vancouver area. They are part of a new "Lifesaving Committee" that works to place animals in "forever homes" rather than being euthanized. The HSSW is a non-profit which is privately funded through donations in the community. HSSW also has a contract with the city and county animal control agencies to house animals that they pick up. The Board is increasingly is composed of professional business people from throughout the community and accordingly is much more focused on responsible financial stewardship as well as care of the animals....who always come first. HSSW also has an excellent education program for young people. Attending "Critter Camp" each summer is the highlight of our 9-year-old granddaughter's year. She looks forward to the day when she is ol enough to be a regular volunteer.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Adopting 8 animals and supported various fundraisers of HSSW including the annual Walk for the Animals, Golf tournament and Auction.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help then continue to find creative ways to raise funds for Shelter Operators and expand their youth education programs.

More feedback...

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

Why did you make your donation at this time?

We make regular donations each year.

What would you tell others about this organization?

HSSW is an organization that always remembers that the primary focus is on helping companion animals find their "forever homes" and during the interim while they are in the care of the shelter their needs and comforts come first. It is an organization worthy of strong support.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

July 29, 2011

I have adopted 3 times in the past several years (dogs). I have found the staff helpful, knowledgeable, kind, compassionate and always willing to take as long as necessary to help me. Their first concern is the animal's well-being, and they have taken great strides to be sure each time that the dog was a good fit for my canine family. The staff is always eager to answer questions and/or show you through their clean, well-kept kennels. I am also a tender sender (regular monthly donation) and participate in fund-raising ventures throughout the year. The Humane Society for SW Washington has several programs for kids, too, teaching them the love and care of animals.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have talked to many people who are now not "afraid" to go to the humane society and find the next member of their family. That's because of the quality of the SW Washington Humane society facility and also because of the quality of the people who work and volunteer there.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

They have a new (2 years old) facility; as with all non-profits, they need to continue to have the funds to properly care for the animals waiting for their forever families.

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

How did you learn about this organization?

Because of my love of animals, especially dogs & horses, their advertisements caught my eye years ago.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

July 29, 2011

I have had a very postiive experience with the Humane Society of Southwest Washington.

Touring the facility showed me clean, well-cared for animals and volunteers that were very compassionate about their mission.

I adopted my cat, Jazzie and had follow-up interaction when one of
the executives called me days later to say they found Jazzie's collar and bell and wanted to be sure I had it.

Later, Jazzie was elected to be one of the pets highlighted in their Wag Magazine--her first stop on the road to fame!

But probably what I find to be the most exciting is the interaction between the employees and the public via email and facebook posts.

I'm just finishing some blankets to take to the Humane Society - as a result of their request. Although not monetarily rich, I'm enriched by what I can do for such worthy organizations like the Humane Society of Southwest Washington

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

being a donor and being an adoptive parent.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None, that I'm aware of.

June 28, 2011
3 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
June 28, 2011
3 people found this review helpful

This review is my opinion.

HSSW is in desperate need of new management. Under the direction of the current ED, accountibility within the organization has apparently become non-existent. The ineptitude of the Director of Shelter Operations and the Shelter Manager have, by all appearances,
led to countless problems. Most have been presented directly to the ED.

By many accounts, good-intentioned employees who speak up in hopes of improving the organization are "eliminated." Critiques are greeted with defensiveness, despondency, and denial.

Poor decisions in animal welfare lead to sickness. To avoidable euthanasia. To squandered donations.

In recent weeks, letters have been written to the Vancouver City Council and media outlets regarding multiple serious concerns within this organization.

Some of the suspicions I've heard include:

*donations are taken for personal use by employees
*conditions in the animal areas are becoming increasinly worse
*avoidable sickness occurs
*relationships with other organizations is becoming strained by poor communication on the part of management within the animal care department
*employees don't feel safe speaking up - they feel intimidated by management to maintain the company line, even if animals suffer as a result

In addition to serious management concerns, there are also policy concerns. For practical purposes, they have quietly regressed from an honest open-door shelter into a shady, limited admission shelter. They now turn animals away (such as animals from outside of the county), and charge unreasonable surrender fees. Owners discouraged by this, or unable to pay these fees often release pets into fields and parks. They breed and increase overpopulation or die of disease or predation by wildlife.

The reason for this "limited admission" transformation is superficial. Tourtillot and his management apparently want to improve their appearance on paper. They want to decrease the number of animals they euthanize, and increase the ratio of animals "saved."

It is a con game. Shelters that emphasize save rates and euth rates play a game to win public support at the cost of animals. They add to the problem. They increase euthanasia and ignorance within the community by distracting from the real problem - societal irresponsibility.

A final critique is that a number of exceptional employees have been eliminated from this organization by Tourtillot and Feder (his DSO). They've squandered talent.

Tourtillot and his current DSO and Shelter Manager need to be replaced immediately. Perhaps then it can begin to heal, and once again benefit the animals and patrons of Vancouver.

Clark County deserves better. They deserve an accountable and honest shelter with competent leadership. And the honest, hard-working front-line staff deserve good management that recognizes their effort, and treats them with respect.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've seen good employees eliminated, critiques go unaddressed, management issues grow, animal care suffer, and policy decisions contribute to public ignorance and overpopulation.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Replace the ED, DSO, and SM immediately.

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