Griffin Pond To No Longer Euthanize Animals For Space, Temperament Issues
SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — Griffin Pond Animal Shelter’s new leadership plans to no longer euthanize animals unless medical reasons make it the humane course of action, the president of the nonprofit organization’s board of directors said Wednesday.
Douglas Boyle said the goal of no longer killing animals for space and temperament reasons is “very achievable” as he updated voting members on Griffin Pond’s reforms after claims of unwarranted euthanasia and animal mistreatment threw the shelter into turmoil in August.
“We’re not going to euthanize animals just to make space for other animals,” Boyle said.
He expected the ongoing $3.4 million renovation and expansion to help because, by the time it is finished early next year, the project will increase the number of dog kennels from 80 to 150 and the number of cats the shelter can house by 75-plus.
The shelter is also working on expanding its fostering network to help deal with possible future space crunches, Interim Director Jess Farrell said.
As newly appointed board members, Boyle and board Vice President Arthur Moretti led an internal review into allegations that started with a social media campaign and resulted in an organizational shakeup, including the ouster of former director Ed Florentino.
“We did find support for many of the allegations,” Boyle told voting members at the board meeting. “We also found some of the claims weren’t supported ... We took that very seriously and took appropriate action.”
Boyle declined to elaborate on any of the investigation’s findings but said results were passed along to outside agencies when appropriate. He declined to name which agencies.
Voting members unanimously approved temporarily suspending the humane society’s bylaws that limit turnover of board members to replace the board with a full slate of new directors next month. It’s the latest effort to restore public confidence in the shelter as fundraising dipped in the months after the scandal, although members said Griffin Pond is still financially stable because of some endowments.
There will be 17 nominees.
Board members also described numerous changes designed to improve the operation’s governance, including new ethics rules intended to eliminate conflicts of interest.
“If you’re on the board and want to do business with the shelter, you can’t be on the board,” Boyle said.
Officials will also establish a whistleblower hotline for employees to report problems without fear of retaliation.
Moretti said members are researching best practices at other shelters to improve operations, while Boyle said the operation hired a new humane officer, two fundraising advancement positions and plans hire more people after the new leadership determined the operation is understaffed.
The plan is to continue advertising positions and make the search for the new director more transparent, Boyle added.
“If we cannot regain community support for this organization, the quality of life of the animals we keep will not be what it could be,” Moretti added.
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