What is wrong with Humane Society of Indianapolis?

Dateline: Thu 19 Jun 2008

The question has plagued some of us for years now. Today's Page 1 story in the Star by Robert King, reporting that HSI exec director Martha Boden has resigned her $105,000 a year position amid increasing financial shortfalls, comes as no surprise. At least not to those in the animal activist community, who have for years accused the private agency of not keeping up to date with animal welfare issues and poor financial management.

Warren Patitz has been one of those critics, long before, in fact, Boden came on board. Today the well-known dog trainer and creator of various animal-related groups answered questions about HSI.

WHAT IS WRONG AT THE HUMANE SOCIETY?

WP: "1. It lacks sound leadership 2. It lacks direction 3. It lacks a meaningful mission."

CAN IT BE FIXED?

WP: "Yes, only if The HSI board of directors is totally committed to No Kill sheltering and passes as a binding principle the No Kill Declaration, http://www.nokilldeclaration.org/ . No Kill sheltering respects every animal as an individual and turns away no animal. No Kill Sheltering says - stop killing animals because of the excuse that there are 'too many,' they are 'too old' or they are 'sick.' Instead, there is implementation of life-saving programs and services (called the No Kill Equation) by the agencies responsible for sheltering animals.

"The No Kill Equation ... in summary embraces: no killing of adoptable animals at local animal shelters, expanded feral cat TNR (trap neuter release) programs, high volume, low cost spay/neuter programs, improved shelter access for rescue groups, expanded shelter animal foster care, comprehensive adoption programs, improved pet retention by owners, medical and behavioral rehabilitation of shelter animals, improved shelter public relations and community involvement, expanded shelter volunteer programs, and compassionate and progressive shelter leadership.

"In Indianapolis, we have some of the above in place, but to be successful at No Kill, they all need to realize the most important is compassionate, progressive leadership. This is essentially a movement of consciousness. "

WHAT WOULD A SOUND HUMANE SOCIETY LOOK LIKE?

WP: "A sound Humane Society would be one operating with the commitment to No Kill. Examples to emulate are in Charlottesville VA., and Reno, Nevada. A sound humane society would have local animal welfare representation on its board in addition to community/business connected members."

IS THE BOARD STILL THE PROBLEM?

WP: "The next several weeks and months will speak to that. If the board refuses local and national leadership guidance it will still be a problem and guarantee the perpetual breach of the public's trust in animal sheltering."

Patitz is affiliated locally with

http://movetoact.org/

Over the next few days, I hope to contact other progressive animal-rights organizations in central Indiana for their thoughts. Or, please join here in the discussion by adding comments or answering the questions posed.

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