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PARTNERSHIP FOR ANIMAL WELFARE INC
June 21, 2010

I began volunteering for Partnership for Animal Welfare (PAW, based in Greenbelt, Maryland) in 1997 and continued volunteering and supporting it for 11 years. I also recruited a number of relatives and friends to help volunteer for PAW. We transported dogs, offered foster care, walked and exercised PAW's animals. I have met many good people there and belive that the majority of PAW volunteers are well intentioned, selfless and devoted to animal rescue. Through a number of problematic encounters, however, with PAW's leadership I discovered that, unfortunately, PAW is also dysfunctional in many ways, as a result of which the good efforts of many volunteers are undermined and fail to produce an optimal benefit for the cause. These dysfunctions, in my experience, are created by a small number of volunteers on the board of directors and their close friends. As a result of some direct dealings with the board, it became clear to me that the organization does not uphold the principles of transparency or accountability to its own membership or the public at large because a small group of people controls the flow of information the way it sees fit, deeming it unnecessary to keep the membership informed of the major issues or decisions. When I brought up an issue with PAW's primary veterinarian, which concerned possible violations of PAW's stated mission, it was not, in my view, properly addressed. The membership was kept uninformed of the problem, and the donors continued to donate tax-free dollars to be used to support this veterinarian, while being kept unaware of potential issues. Also, PAW's stated mission is to rescue abandoned and homeless animals, but in my experience PAW rescues far fewer animals than it is able to, given the funds it has (and compared to other rescues). This is the case, I believe, because PAW arbitrarily denies many potentially good applications for dogs (not cats), imposing sometimes unreasonable adoption criteria. My own dog was almost denied to me because I "might" have a grandchild and because a dog I already owned would be a "bad influence" on the dog I wanted to adopt. It has been more than three years since I adopted this dog and he is fine. I believe it is important to raise awareness of problems in some of these local rescues because many people feel (and there is much discussion of this problem now on the Internet) that their use of tax-free funds is inefficient, and that some of them fail to operate under the principles of transparency and openness towards their own members and the tax-paying public.

The Great!

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

many denied adoptions for dogs and ineffective communications with volunteers

Ways to make it better...

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

change the adoption policy, making it open to scrutiny, and make changes with respect to transparency and accountability in the actions of the board of directors.

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

working with the animals, meeting many good volunteers

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

good ordinary volunteers, who give selflessly of their time and energy to the cause and some staff more interested in personal agenda than in in the cause, unfortunately

Ways to make it better...

if there weren't as much cronyism and turf strife from the few individuals formally (and sometimes informally) in charge

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

controlling and underhanded leadership

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & transported, walked and socialized animals, provided foster care.

Review from Guidestar