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Robert Barquaire

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VANCOUVER HUMANE SOCIETY & S P C A
June 28, 2011

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.

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field & Donated to this organization, and watched its progress over the past several years.

Review from CharityNavigator