Inside View At Connecticut Humane Society: Former Finance Assistant Details Needless Killing Of Animals And Other Impacts of Staffing Shortage

February 7, 2010

Bridget Kachere

The following is the draft of a letter that Bridget Karchere, former finance assistant at the Connecticut Humane Society, is preparing to provide to the CHS board of directors. She provided me with the letter to give more contrex to my column about the most recent firings last week.

Karchere was one of three workers fired in December for being union supporters. Her written statement alleging financial improprieties against Richard Johnston, full-time president and board chairman, led to the ongoing investigation into Johnston by the state Attorney General’s office.

“While I was employed at CHS as the Finance Assistant I was increasingly concerned about the number of staff, their treatment, and how this affected the animals in CHS’ care. It was obvious to anyone who worked for the organization that they were understaffed; in fact they have always been understaffed. But, never had the levels been as dangerously low as they were in 2009.

The branch that was most affected by this shortage was the Newington branch; this is due to the fact that the highest volume of animals flows through Newington. Richard used a smoke screen to explain this shortage; he blamed, of course, the economy. However, if one would peruse CHS and FMC’s financials it’s clear that the organization is not in any dire financial state. In fact it is doing quite well compared to other businesses, charities, and rescues in Connecticut. If CHS had more qualified staff the organization would actually perform better than it is currently.

While I was employed I completed a staffing analysis on the Newington branch. I compared the amount of staff in 2008 to the amount in 2009. Comparatively I also looked at total animal numbers from 08 to 09 in Newington. On a side note, this was the first time anyone had actually analyzed the numbers at CHS in comparison to the amount of animals handled; an employee to animal ratio.

Decisions at CHS are made by Richard, no one else; many employees and volunteers can vouch for this statement. And, he does not base his decisions on fact, logic, or reason; nor does he do so with the employees, animals, or the organization in mind. He bases his decisions on revenge, personal gain, and superficial materialism.

In the analysis I completed I used payroll data, raw animal data from the shelter database, historical data, and data from the statistical analysis spreadsheets (which are tallied each month of the year to track the success of each branch). The results were mind boggling. It showed that despite what Richard was saying, “We need to make more numbers”; the actual difference between animals handled in 08 to 09 was only -2%. So despite all of Richard’s focus on making numbers he wasn’t looking at the big picture, because the difference between staffing levels in 08 to 09 conservatively speaking was -23%.  He was focused and still is on income; he is concerned with adoptions. How much revenue CHS brings in; and yes that should be the concern for any business, but it should not be the main and only concern.

I say that the ratio was conservative because I included customer service employees and management in the analysis; employees in these positions rarely ever handle animals. So the -23% is an extremely conservative assumption.

To take the analysis even further I broke down the numbers into an animal to staff ratio. Schools do this, most companies do this; for example how much piece work can an average factory employee do in an hour. All companies monitor standards; this is how they effectively evaluate business, performance, and most importantly safety. Richard could care less about any of those things. In fact I was fearful of doing this analysis due to the fact that I was sure there would be some sort of retribution for speaking out.

The results of the analysis were astounding! The actual animal to staff ratio was down 50%, when looking at current months’ data in comparison to 2008 for the exact same time period. I immediately brought these results to the CFO. Unfortunately he wasn’t that concerned, he probably dreaded bringing this up to Richard or any other of the executive team for fear of retribution as well. In disbelief he checked all of the data I used to compile the analysis, and then he took a look at the spreadsheet and checked my formulas and reasoning. In the end he came to the same conclusion, the numbers were accurate.

At this point there were many workers compensation claims occurring; many employees were being injured. Injuries such as chemical burns, bleach induced ammonia, animal bites, broken bones, hands being shut in doors, etc. These were all careless errors, but they were errors that were occurring because the animal care staff was being so severely over worked. Management was actually being careless, for pushing the workers so hard and not speaking out about the shortages. In fact, most management blamed the staff, they claimed they were lazy and did not want to work, or injured employees were labeled as trouble makers.

I sat through many meetings where management made these claims. There were many witnesses in attendance. Managements’ accusations were so tactless at one point they were trying to come up with gimmicks, basically incentives, so they could “persuade” the employees not to become injured on the job. They offered to buy the animal care staff coffee and donuts if they didn’t have a claim for a month!

In a management meeting the Assistant District Manager stated that the staff was lazy, other managers stated that they were careless, that the staff were just complaining and that they were the problem. Maureen Lord actually spoke out at one of these meetings against these claims and defended the employees; she stated that the comments were unfair and inappropriate. Alicia Wright approached Maureen Lord after the meeting and said to her, “I’m so glad you said something, I was upset by it too.” Why didn’t Ms. Wright speak up? She is the Director of Public Relations; surely she should have some authority within the group. I guess not.

I then started to harp on the analysis I had done. Janice Marzano, who oversees the human resource functions at CHS, was the biggest culprit in denying that they were any staffing issues aside from Richard, despite what the numbers were saying. The CFO was no help in pushing the issue as well. But, all of my complaining finally got Richard’s attention. He was not pleased with this analysis. In a Monday morning management meeting at the Newington Branch Richard made a “guest appearance”. He came specifically to challenge these claims. He came in to the meeting that was already in session. He then made me switch my seat so he could sit at the head of the table. Then it was time for his speech. He stated in front of the entire management team that he would not staff until we reached the number of animals handled that he wanted. He uses an arbitrary number of 9,000. Which if CHS handled 9,000 animals with the amount of animal care staff employed; there would be dangerous consequences for the animals and staff. In fact, the Assistant District Manager said, after Richard left the meeting, that CHS had never handled 9,000 animals before. She claimed that they came close in 2005 but she admitted they weren’t doing things properly or safely during that time frame either. And, their staffing levels were much higher at that point.

I decided to pull information from other sources. I looked to other shelters and animal organizations for their ratios and statistics. I found the General Staffing Recommendations for Kennel Caretaking on the Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) website. I spoke with friends in the animal industry and found out they used a similar formula to evaluate their staffing levels.

The HSUS analysis confirmed my assumptions; CHS was short staffed 50% in clean and feed duties alone. The analysis showed that there should be a bare minimum of 18 staff performing the clean and feed duties. The 9 staff included the two Team Leaders. So actual staff working most days was 7, sometimes less, and these individuals are split between adoption and incoming. How dangerous it must be if someone called out sick or took a vacation.

The HSUS formula breaks down the duties into increments of time; the formula was based on a per-animal time of 9 minutes for cleaning and 6 minutes for feeding. This does not even include walking the animals! So if CHS was 50% short staffed how much care were the animals truly getting? I’m sure the donors would love to know this information. They would be appalled at the treatment of these animals and staff. What a dangerous situation.

Also let’s take a look at what the numbers are saying besides staffing levels and basic animal care. If the difference in animals handled in 08 to 09 at that point was only -2% but the adoption numbers were much lower; unfortunately I do not have those exact figures, than what was happening to all of the animals?

The concerned staff in Newington including administration and animal care workers had been speaking out for quite some time about the unfair euthanasia policy and the untrained behavior staff. However, there was retaliation from management if people spoke out. Essentially employees had to result to sneaking animals out of the building to save their lives. This was achieved in a number of ways; but in all cases rescues, the ones CHS alienates, and staff were the animals’ saviors.

One member of the “behaviorist team” told staff of the inconsistent and brutal way euthanasias were carried out. This is someone who had no formal training in animal behavior, the shelter environment, or dog training. She had a quick form of training under CHS’ head “behaviorist”. The head behaviorist is not a behaviorist at all, she is a dog trainer, and consequently does not have the knowledge or proper education to run a behavior program of this size.

Dogs were being euthanized because the evaluator felt “weird” about the dog. They were also euthanized for simple behavior issues that could have been easily fixed by having ample qualified staff, proper training, and placement with the appropriate family. But, because of the staffing shortage, unqualified behavior staff, and the constant push to move animals through the system, these poor souls fell by the way side.

I have spoken with the behavior assistant, she told stories of having to wrestle dogs down and stab them in the neck to euthanize them. She also claimed that whenever a shipment of dogs came in from the south, she was pressured to go through the line of dogs waiting to be evaluated or re-evaluated, and euthanize most if not all of them. She also had no clue on how to treat a lot of these miniscule behavior problems that would ultimately end the lives of these dogs. Many staff can attest to this. It was a sad situation, and any staff that did speak out were quickly shut up by way of bullying and scare tactics from management.

In fact the dogs scheduled to be euthanized, that concerned staff and rescues placed with families, turned out to be wonderful companions. Some of the reasons dogs were being euthanized were for separation anxiety, dog aggression, insistent barking, and food bowl aggression. Not only are most of these issues easily fixed but contemplate this for a second: CHS is a shelter; dogs are scared, hungry, confused, and depressed. How would they react to the behavior tests initially? It then makes sense that a lot of these “problem” dogs had no problems when they were placed with happy loving families.

There were even times that “behaviorists” starved the dogs before a food bowl aggression test to make them more aggressive. Then they would shove a fake hand in their faces while they were eating. Of course the dogs acted aggressively, I would too in the same situation. This is not an empty accusation either. Witnesses to these abuses are numerous and would attest to observing these despicable acts of inhumanity.

I turned my focus to the euthanasia numbers; however this analysis was much more difficult to perform. It took a lot of digging. I used numbers from the old computer system, numbers from the current database, and numbers from the statistical reports. I could not complete this analysis before I was fired. The process was tedious and, due to the system conversion, quite cloudy. But, the results I did find were truly upsetting. The Newington branch, in comparison to 2008, showed a small increase in medical euthanasia in felines and canines, the difference was approximately 1%. So the medical department’s practices were relatively consistent. Conversely, the euthanasia numbers for behavior in canines increased approximately 31%, and the number of euthanasia in felines increased approximately 85%.

These results validate all the claims that staff and volunteers had been making about the unfit behavior staff, and the senselessness of the euthanasias being performed. To answer Richard’s consistent question, this is where your adoptions went. These animals were senselessly euthanized before they were ever given a chance.

I brought these numbers up in a monthly business meeting. I was quickly shot down by Newington’s Assistant District Manager, and Westport’s District Manager. They claimed the increase in euthanasia numbers was due to more CT dogs coming through the system. Then what about the cats?

I tried pushing the issue with the CFO as well; he was disinterested and unwilling to take it further. Unbelievable! An animal shelter that isn’t concerned with its statistics, the impact of its business, or the health and safety of animals in its care or the dedicated staff caring for them; I’m sure the donors would be thrilled to hear this information.

Now after the recent firings of at least 5 dedicated employees, at least 3 of them who were involved with direct animal care, the ratio of animals to staff must be dangerously low. If the animals weren’t receiving proper care before, I cringe to imagine the level of care they are currently receiving. Also, the staff working to care for the animals must be in a dire predicament. This is a terrible case of cruelty and inhumanity; and to make matters worse the citizens of Connecticut are the ones unknowingly paying for this corrupt management team’s salaries and crusade against dedicated staff. ”


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133 Responses to Inside View At Connecticut Humane Society: Former Finance Assistant Details Needless Killing Of Animals And Other Impacts of Staffing Shortage

  1. Mayor Of Dogtown on February 7, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    that THUD you just heard was me hitting the floor. This report is staggering, as volunteer, you know some of what goes on in there but these statistics do not lie. Sure every business tries to make a profit but this is a totally different aniimal so to speak. We are a shelter and we are supposed to run for the sake of the animals….it’s sad that it became his personal mission to drive everyone crazy and either fire everyone or make it so miserable that they all wanted to quit…He has accomplished both! Your coming down big man!

  2. Lindsay on February 7, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Bridget, it’s too bad you weren’t around when the SAFER behavior evaluations fist began in the shelter. The woman who came in to give the seminar went the through the kennels and in 2 days had us euthanize nearly 24 dogs that she deemed “unfit for adoption”. This protocol of evaluating grades the dogs on a scale of A through F, and according to the founders of this protocol, to be a truely successful shelter, you should only keep A and B dogs – all other are to be euthanized. And to put this into perspective, a C dog, isn’t one with severe issues. They are often unsocialized and fearful, noise sensistive or jumpy, hardly untrainable, and in fact, these are dogs you typically see out in society in the average home with little or no time to spend training the dog, yet they get by just fine.

    • Anon on February 7, 2010 at 5:52 pm

      This type of evaluation has begun again. I have seen the grades marked on some of the dogs’ paperwork.

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm

      I was invited to attend that Safer class… one point…I had to leave, I thought that woman was for the birds, her thoughts on who gets put down were crazy. I fostered a fearful dog for two months and she turned around with some TLC…had they had this policy in place, that dog would have gone down. I don’t wanna think about the ones I have been told were adopted or at rescue that really went down….I’m already mad enough!

  3. Lindsay on February 7, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Speaking of the BOD, DR. William Haines (DVM) of the Hartford Veterinary Hospital on the Berlin Tpk in Newington was accused in 1192 of declawing a cat without any documentation of surgery and care of the animal in question. Here’s the link:

    Nice considering CHS preaches a “no-declaw” policy for adoptions. Basically if you say you will declaw a cat once adopted, you will not be allowed to adopt any cat in the future that has claws due to the cruel nature of the surgery. Yet someone who willingly performs this cruel and unecessary surgery is a board member!

  4. OMD on February 7, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Totally heartbroken as a volunteer….. What has it been about10 weeks since the non management employees voted for the union. That means how much is being spent on cost of attornies at what a day???? Any ideas????? Oh and then wait the cost of a servalance systems???? Whats the need for a servelance system when you cant trust your workers. But hey wait these people too are probally getting give backs from board. How many more animals could have been saved.

  5. Cathy DeMarco on February 7, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Bridget’s information is all true and accurate. She worked diligently on compiling this data. She is one of the most ethical and honest people I have ever known. Her courage and dedication are inspiring to all of us in the Coalition. We support you Bridget, and thank you for doing what you felt you must for the animals at CHS in Newington.

  6. anony mouse on February 7, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    I remember a dog that the behaviorist felt “weird” about. It passed all of the behavior tests she could give it multiple times. Even still, she continued to feel “weird.” So she decided to tell the staff not to feed the dog for the day. At the very end of the day, having gone more than 24 hours without any food, the behaviorist mixed up a bowl of the yummiest wet food she could find, and gave it to the starving dog. She then pushed a plastic hand in the dog’s face again and again and again, preventing the dog from eating. Finally, the dog did what she wanted it to; it bit the hand. That was all the “proof” she needed to justify her “weird” feeling. That dog was euthanized for no reason. Just like so many others.

    • DC on February 7, 2010 at 5:43 pm

      That is ridiculus! How can you people spread such potentially hurtful lies?

      • Greyhound Lover on February 7, 2010 at 6:00 pm

        This is the truth. May I ask who are you and what is your position at CHS? Because all of the employees are telling the truth. What would they have to gain from lying? And what makes you so sure you know the truth?
        There is no one who has anything good to say about Richard Johnston, yet all the volunteers and employees keep coming forward with more and more accurate info.
        Do you honestly think Ms. Karchere would come forward without proof and tons of witnesses? Exactly. She has proof and tons of witnesses.
        And all of the comments people are posting about CHS are true; and yet again there are witnesses and proof to back it all up.

      • James on February 7, 2010 at 6:10 pm

        Do you realize what it would take for there to be lies on THIS scale? As I have said elsewhere, the sheer number of people coming forward and sharing their stories, and the level of detail provided, makes your charge so implausible that, DC, I have to assume bad faith on your part. And indeed I do.

      • Lynzee & Malfoy on February 7, 2010 at 7:39 pm

        Are you out of your mind? Do you thing everyone is wrong. Get a grip on reality. THIS IS WHAT IS GOING ON!

        • OMD on February 7, 2010 at 8:45 pm

          Wake up and smell the MILKBONES!!!!! These are not lies at all. How can you sleep at night. Along with the rest of the low life management at CHS.

      • Anon on February 7, 2010 at 8:35 pm

        I have a feeling DC is a Holocaust denier as well. Yes DC, this is just a huge elaborate conspiracy…you should expect to see it on Jesse Ventura’ show next week.

        Are you an absolute idiot? Just because you don’t want to believe it, does not mean it is not true. I have heard stories like this time and time again in my three years there.

      • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 7, 2010 at 8:48 pm

        if this is ridiculous…then tell us what really happened since you seem to be in the know….Id love to think this can’t possibly happen but with the behavior and flippant attitude of said behaviorist aka former waitress who had no formal training….I wouldn’t fluff off anything too quickly.

  7. James on February 7, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Ms. Karchere is one of the most courageous people I have had the privilege of personally meeting. The record she provides here boggles the mind. The sheer level of detail–and appalling details they are–makes it very clear how wrong things are going under Richard Johnston’s leadership at the Connecticut Humane Society, and how badly change is needed. And how immediate that change needs to be.

  8. Mayor Of Dogtown on February 7, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Maybe DC can challenge this story…..remember Tyson, the big ol Mastiff, family had to surrender, they just could not afford him……He tested alright except his food bowl test….the family that lived next door to them came in once they heard the family dropped the dog off at CHS. They were told that the dog could not be seen. How do I know this? I was the adoption counselor who had to tell them. I went to the supervisor and asked what they could do to get the dog. She said until he passes his food bowl test, nothing other than taking an application so she could “call them”. They called back asking to take the dog regardless and were told they could not place him because he failed his food bowl test. Now, here is a case where this family already KNEW this dog, the dog knew them….it’s not like they would be total strangers going into a new relationship with this dog. Not only that but the previous owners would be able to see the dog they had to surrender. Instead of doing the right thing for both families but more importantly to give the dog a home, we opted to put the dog down cuz he was deemed unadoptable by our “standards”. Heartbreaking, I had that dog out on walks in the woods and he was great! But nope, we ended his story with a needle!!!

  9. Gone but never forgotten!!! on February 7, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Not so lucky DOGS!!!!
    please feel free to add those you worked witth and loved!

    • Alpha Dog on February 7, 2010 at 9:23 pm

      How about the beautiful female akita that was euthanized less than 24hrs after she came in. One of the sweetest dogs ever, I still don’t know what was the reason for it? The people let a very generous donation too.

      • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 7, 2010 at 9:50 pm

        THAT was a travesty…..and someone came in LOOKING for an Akita that same weekend….grrrrrr

        • Karma on February 7, 2010 at 10:12 pm

          Her name was Kiki. She was a beautiful dog. Not only did her people leave a generous donation, they called and asked us to be sure we sent her to her new home with her toys that she loved. Even if she lived, the toys would not have gone with her. If the toys were good enough to be resold ~ upstairs they went into storage for the next event to be sold. The other toys would be given out to dogs in the kennel or tossed. Makes you want to cry, doesn’t it. I’m crying now…

          • Anon on February 7, 2010 at 11:29 pm

            There was no valid reason for this dog to go down. I think the reason the stated on the form was “dog and food bowl aggression,’even though she was barely there more than a day. My feelings are they did it just because of her breed.

          • Volunteer on February 8, 2010 at 11:24 am

            I’ll tell you the reason why Kiwi was put down. The behaviorist HATES Akitas, that’s why.

      • Alpha Dog on February 7, 2010 at 10:58 pm

        What about the 100’s maybe even 1,000’s of shipment dogs. Countless puppies and dogs rushed through the system to get the adoption numbers up, only to be returned and euthanized for behavioral issues, all of those poor puppies coming in from the south dying. Imagine the heartache of watching 20+ puppies die from parvo in one day, only to have more shipped the very next week in the same disease infested trailer the others came up in.
        CT. dogs being turned away and also euthanized to make space for more shipments because it kept the adoption numbers up. I honestly lost count of the amount of cats that are euthanized as well, usually to make room for the more adoptable cats waiting to come into the shelter.

    • Lindsay on February 7, 2010 at 9:52 pm

      CR was the first to go after the SAFER seminar, he actually left the food bowl to go after the hand and woman testing. I loved him, would feed him bones without issues, even pickup food in front of him and he never lunged at me. This was before they started feeding all the dogs regular food and everyone ate ID…he was essentially starving. I cried holding him when they were taking him away.

      • MMann on February 8, 2010 at 7:57 pm

        The feeding program that was directed by the medical department. How come they are not be held responsible?

    • Karma on February 7, 2010 at 10:20 pm

      Gladys, the dog
      Sampson, the dog
      Pazcka, the cat
      Gabe, the cat
      They’re all at the Rainbow Bridge….xo

      • TimeToGetBusy on February 8, 2010 at 9:15 am

        I didn’t know Gabe, but I knew and loved Pazcka very much. Two cats that came from a hoarder were just put down as well. (the orange cat and the black cat that were buddies). To my knowledge, neither was aggressive. One would hiss at people but that was it. I guess that is management’s twisted view of “aggression.” If hissing is aggression, then 90% of the cats in the world today wouldn’t make it there.

        • Heartbroken on February 8, 2010 at 8:08 pm

          These 2 cats were coming along. The last morning that they were in the cat condo I even remarked to a manager how well they were doing. They were actually at the front of the cage. I said it would be great to get them into a foster home as I know they would blossom. I found out the next day when I saw their cage was empty that they had been euthanized. Did you think I was going to speak out Joanne? If I had I would have been fired. Is that what you were waiting for? Instead I cried 1,000 tears. Just like your buddy Kitty who said that she knows you will both burn in hell for all the euthanasias you’ve performed.

      • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 8, 2010 at 9:52 am

        Wait….Sampson was put down? Oh my gosh, I just assumed he ended up at the Sanctuary…..I forgot about Gladys, I loved her! She was kinda punkish but had a bright side. I sometimes fear that people dont let their new pets adjust before they try to treat them like they’ve known each other for years. Gladys could go from 0-100 in no time so you had to go slow with her and don’t let her energy climb so fast. There are 100’s of stories who we just have forgotten the names of because there are so many. Sadly we had to keep lying to the public about certain dogs….and of our policy. No more LIES! Come forward with more stories of fact!

        • hmmm on February 8, 2010 at 2:06 pm

          The Sampson you are thinking about got adopted in Westport. I hope the article written wasnt another lie.

          • Another Volunteer on February 8, 2010 at 8:02 pm

            You folks are talking about two different dogs named Sampson. One was adopted out of Westport after being there quite a long time. (That’s after he he’d been in Newington a long time, winning over everyone’s heart.) Another dog named Sampson was euthanized.

    • Jan Kozlowski on February 8, 2010 at 7:33 am

      Max, a gorgeous German shepherd boy who was left tied out in front of CHS one morning this past summer.

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 8, 2010 at 10:12 am

      Another sad adoption story…Harry the hound…what a travesty…..they insisted that this dog bit one of their children…but no photo’s or in person scar to look at, no medical report….We should ask for proof. Do these people know that if a dog bites, they get put down? Maybe he was too much HOUND for them but is it explained to them that if they surrender this dog, he loses his life? Harry was so gentle, I find it hard toimagine he’d have bitten….

      • Kate on February 8, 2010 at 11:57 am

        The public does not know what will happen. We adopted a pit bull last summer who, after a month of good behavior with us, put two huge tooth holes into my cavalier’s face and bit right through my cocker’s ears three times in two days (oh, the blood). We arranged to have a trainer come help us, but she couldn’t come for a few days and the next day the pit bull bit my 10-year old’s arm. We all (humans and dogs) became afraid of this dog. We thought the humane society would probably put this otherwise affectionate dog down, probably before we even left the parking lot, but we agreed, when we adopted him, that we would bring him back if things got out of control.

        If the desk man had told us that this dog would inevitably be killed, and could have given us some other options, we would not have surrendered him. We felt trapped because we had agreed to return him and didn’t know what other options were out there. Why doesn’t the Humane Society take any responsibility for educating the public about what is really going to happen?!?!? It seems clear that you are all afraid to speak out, but can’t you just pass me a little card without your supervisors knowledge that says: “don’t return your dog! We are going to kill him! Call these people instead, they can help: Rescue Group XYZ.”

        Help us do the right thing!!! That man who sits at the surrender desk could speak up and lives could be saved. The public has faith that you people do the right thing. If you can’t do what you say you are going to do, find some way to let us know!!!

        I hope these articles and investigations will get the word out.

        • Lindsay on February 8, 2010 at 12:15 pm

          Because the guy at the desk isn’t allowed to talk. The evaluator sits right next to him, she hands him a list of what he is allowed to accept each day. Everything from ages of animals, to numbers, to breeds. He has a list of breeds not to accept which includes: pits, mastiffs, akitas, rotties, dobies, shepherds, chows, sharpeis, and a few other bully breeds. I know because one day while working there I was aked to name off a list of bully breeds frequently not accepted by homeowners insurance. That list was then used to determine which dogs not to accept.

          • cindy on February 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm

            You people should get your facts straight . On any given day you can go back in the kennels and see many pitbulls. I have fostered three, that have found loving homes. Please consider the damage you are doing by telling these untruths. And remember the Humane Society doesnt claim to be no kill, it is low kill.

          • Lindsay on February 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm

            Obviously you’ve never read my previous posts. I have no breed prejudices. So watch it with the “you people”. Currently the kennel is full of pits because there haven’t been any southern dogs brought up and that’s what the ACO’s collect and in turn become property of CHS. I’ve fostered pits too, one who was returned for aggresssion had no issues with me and went to a great home. And how is it an untruth? I WROTE THE LIST. That’s right. I didn’t do it knowing those dogs were going to be denied, but that was what the list ended up being. I’ve watched and listened to Joann Lincoln and Kitty Baker tell the incoming office what to accept and what to deny. That would be fact.

    • Greyhound Lover on February 8, 2010 at 11:36 am

      Layla…my love…her death broke my heart. It was unfair and just plain wrong to end her beautiful life.
      The world was a better place with her in it.
      (she gave the best doggie hugs ever)

      • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 8, 2010 at 2:34 pm

        Ugh…I remember Layla…she made such progress…..she was very thin and agressive when she ate…but it could have been worked with. I’m not sure i knew she was put down. Sometimes they just get lost in the shuffle…

  10. Karma on February 7, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Kudos to Bridget for doing an awesome job in compiling all this information. It took a lot of hard work & courage on her part to put it out there for all to see. I don’t know how people like Richard, Janice, Alicia and all the other manager wannabes can sleep at night. Have they no conscience? We know they have no compassion. And most likely you will burn in hell, just like you said you knew you would. It was your choice to take the low road. What a pity!

  11. herdingdog on February 7, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    This is all terribly shocking and would be news to many people who believe that the CT Humane Society is no kill. I wonder if the so called “head behaviorist” is the same person that my dog and I took a class with a few years ago? This person was disorganized, confused and had the strong smell of alcohol on their breath. The class was a disaster and and from what I understand it is now required for many adopters. Eventually I met other owners at the dog park that had the same experience with this person. I wouldn’t trust this individual to teach basic obedience classes never mind make life or death decisions.

    I think it is horribly sad what that good people who truly care about animals have gone through hell under the leadership of a tyrant and most of all the poor animals who are being killed for such petty issues. I adopted a puppy from the Hartford Dog pound a few years ago that was absolutely terrified of people and would urinate every time you looked at her. 3 years later and with love and work on my families part, she is an wonderful and very confident dog, that loves people and other dogs and is a therapy dog and an agility champ. I have no doubt that she would have been killed at the Society for being fearful. Thank god Sherry at Htfd Pound gave her a chance. It’s sick that so many dogs were pulled out of Southern high kill Shelters only to be inhumanely killed here. I’m afraid that I can no longer contribute to the society and will instead find a worthy rescue, I will also tell everyone I know about this. I’m praying for all the employees volunteers and animals that have been abused by Johnston. Stay strong!

    • Lindsay on February 8, 2010 at 12:10 pm

      You’re thinking of a different person, the one who evaluates has no hand in the training classes, they are contracted out to someone else.

      • hmmm on February 8, 2010 at 2:03 pm

        If it was more than 5 yrs ago…It wasnt the contractor it is now.

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 8, 2010 at 2:30 pm

      I’m not sure how long ago this happened but I have to defend the people running the training classes currently and if someone can interject with how many years they have been doing so, that would be great. They are fantastic trainer’s and never give up on a dog. They may give up on the person that is supposed to be training the dog but they are very dog savvy and totally professional. What people have to realize is they cannot train your dog in one hour per week…YOU have to do your homework and work on those things your being taught on a daily basis for it to stick.

      Great success story about your fearful dog. I fostered a fearful dog and she turned around rather quickly once she got comfortable in my home. It did my heart good to know we CAN turn a dog around, but back then I had no idea how many were slipping thru the cracks.

      • Lindsay on February 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm

        It definitely falls on the owner. classes are a chance to ask questions, practice things with distractions going on, have someone critique you, but trainers really don’t train the dogs, we train people. I train MY dogs, but I cringe when people tell me they send their dogs away to boot camp…what is the point of having a dog?? Figure 6 hours….thats a 6 week class at an hr per class – that’s the average amount of time people will spend training their dog in it’s entire lifetime, and that’s sad. I wanted to make EVERY dog a mandatory training when I worked there, no one should skip out on classes. I’m a dog trainer and i STILL take my dogs to someone else’s class for training, it’s important. I wanted to take it a step further and require first time dog owners take an ownership classs before they were ever allowed to even meet with a dog. It would certainly prevent a lot of frustration and returned dogs

        • herdingdog on February 8, 2010 at 8:35 pm

          I’m sorry if my post upset you but you are preaching to the choir, as I am a certified, professional dog trainer, as well. In fact I’m certified by the same group that does training at CT Humane. At this time I give herding lessons, seminars and clinics and am licensed judge. I believe 100% that it is entirely up to the owner to implement the lessons taught in classes and my biggest frustration is the lack of owner involvement. I really have no idea why both of you felt the need to lecture me on the owners place in the training process simply because I recounted a negative experience that I had with a trainer at your facility. I brought a young BC I was fostering to class mainly for socialization but found myself in chaotic and unsafe situation. This was due to the lack of control the instructor had in the class and some possible substance abuse issues. As a Vet Tech, and dog trainer for 30 years, working with a variety of breeds, I made a professional evaluation and decided I would no longer continue for the health and well being of my dog. I own 6 dogs(all rescues) 4 rescued cats, foster for NEBCR and spend my days training, consulting and working dogs. I recently published a book on Herding, and am currently hosting a series of trials at my farm this Spring. My foster dogs begin training from the second they arrive and it is a lifelong process, so i can assure that my issues with this trainer were not due to me not doing my homework. . I did have a bad experience at CT Humane society and know of others who did as well and I stand by my account. I am very, very, happy to hear that the present trainers are capable and competent and that you respect them for their work. I know things are enormously stressful for you and everyone involved with CT Humane and I wish you all success with your fight to make animals lives better. I volunteered at an urban Shelter for over 10 years so I know how tough it is to begin with. Good luck and God Bless you all!

          • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 8, 2010 at 10:05 pm

            I don’t think we were preaching to you specifically about your post and how the owners are responsible for most of the training. I was simply defending the current trainer’s as being fine trainers and didn’t want their good name tarnished in this fight since it has nothing to do with them. I have no idea who did the training prior to them getting there but it must have been bad to leave that kind of impression on you.

    • DC on February 8, 2010 at 7:51 pm

      The head behavior consultant is the same person that spent an hour at the Vet. with Bridgitte and her own dog because this dog was so fearful and aggressive. It is also the same person that met with her at night after work on her personal time because Brdigette was so upset about the behavior issues this dog was going through. Shame on you for spreading these lies about neglect, abuse, and uncaring.

      • Scottish Lass on February 8, 2010 at 9:01 pm

        It’s shame that so many are slamming the society causing people to withhold support. Shame on the volunteers that are quitting or canceling shifts. If the animals are as bad as off as you claim wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to help them? Instead you’re just going to walk away and let them die? This makes no sense to me. Rescue/shelter work is not easy and perhaps all the complainers here are emotionally burnt out from being too emeshed with the dogs and cats they are supposed to be helping. This is how animal hoarders start.

        • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 9, 2010 at 9:17 am

          If you think this was an easy decision , you are sadly mistaken but at times, you have to hit rock bottom before the rebuilding can take place. It’s not that we want to see more neglect of the animals but it’s about not being used as a pawn to this big plan to emilinate the paid staff and get volunteers to do his dirty work and on top of that…oh look, we don’t even have to pay them. The manager’s will have to get in the trenches and help clean , feed and walk….!!!

        • Marge on February 9, 2010 at 1:35 pm

          Rescue/Shelter work is not easy???? Is this supposed to be a revelation or a point missed by those who do these jobs? These good people are not complainers. What they are asking for that CHS lives up to it’s mission statement and the same respect and treatment I believe you would want in your place of employment is afforded to all those in it’s employ.
          Would it be better just to let this travesty to continue, sweep it under the rug, turn a blind eye, think these workers are a dime a dozen and anyone will fill these positions? Do you have any idea the level of education and experience these people have and they choose to work in the shelter because they believe it what it is “supposed” to stand for? Scottish Lass….what look good on the outside can be very rotten on the inside. Nice family… wife beater…abused children.

        • Also a Volunteer on February 9, 2010 at 1:47 pm

          Mr. Lass have you read all of the other articles pertaining to what is going on at CHS? How about the OSHA violations and the employee that was hospitalized? How about the performance review posted that reprimanded the employee for not smiling enough or making eye contact when the managers (and certainly the President) are the least friendliest of all? How about the manager that timed the worker while he was in the bathroom and then threatened to dock his pay? What would you suggest these people do? Suck it up and deal with it? Would you?

        • Lindsay on February 9, 2010 at 7:21 pm

          Hoarding does not start here, hoarding is an actual psychological disorder.

          • Scottish Lass on February 9, 2010 at 7:34 pm

            Yes and several volunteers that posted here who show many of the characteristics of being classic hoarders so thank you for proving my point. I have never seen such a bunch of pathetic whiners in my life. So many posts about not being thanked for volunteering, complaints about being reprimanded for over stepping their place as volunteers etc etc Boo Hoo! It’s not about being thanked. Suck it up and act like grown ups instead of snot nosed little children.

          • Lindsay on February 9, 2010 at 7:55 pm

            My, aren’t we precious. You obviously wouldn’t make a good volunteer either, it takes sympathy, and empathy. Why wouldn’t they care for the animals? If you feel they are so pathetic, no one is forcing you to read or post on here. If you disagree, then so be it, but you aren’t on the inside, so you really can’t comment much can you?

      • jayjay on February 8, 2010 at 11:10 pm

        DC I have finally had enough of you and had to post. First the person who was in charge of behavior for the past couple of years was woefully underqualified. Her prior experience before working at the shelter was working as a waitress; she had never even owned a dog herself only grew up with the family dog. She was promoted because she was the easiest one to bend to managements will. She was trained in under a month by the previous trainer (who i am not sure if she had any formal training. I think we should ask to see her qualifications.) We have all heard about theses so called feelings that they have had about certain dogs. Those poor dogs never had a chance. I can count on one hand the times that this so called trainer took dogs out and actually worked them. While I would like to place all the blame on one person, I can’t. Blame had to be shared equally with all the managers at CHS. I worry about decision made based on the need to “Fast Tract” animals to make the adoptions numbers look good for the BOD. I not only worry about the animals but about public safety.

        • Lindsay on February 9, 2010 at 7:57 pm

          I think we’ve all had enough of DC defending her crusade for euthanasia.

      • Concerned too on February 9, 2010 at 12:27 am

        Would you like a pat on the back? Any caring person would be happy to help out a fellow co-worker and be there for them. That’ s HUMANE nature. And the head behavior consultant is trained in this feild to assist in this situation. Nobody said anything negative toward the behaviorist. This is about bigger issues than that. And to emphasize on the spreading of lies-
        Neglect is the treatment the animals are experiencing with a skeleton crew.
        Abuse would be the abuses of a totalitarian regime.
        Uncaring are the people who do not stand up for what is right!

      • Maureen on February 9, 2010 at 12:39 am

        I don’t believe anyone is claiming that the head behavior consultant has no positive qualities or does not care about animals. We are merely pointing out inconsistencies in the system, as well as a discrepancy between the actual reasons why a euthanasia decision is made vs. what is relayed to the public. As an employee, I was instructed to tell the public that euthanasia was only performed for animals with a severe medical problem, or a severe and unrehabilitatable behavior problem. The stories that we share are merely to illustrate that some of these decisions do not hold up to those standards.

  12. Azy on February 8, 2010 at 1:03 am

    I must say as a donor and a former volunteer I am disgusted with Richard Johnston, board members and the incompetent managers. IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE!!! It’s clear that Richard is obviously more concerned with money rather than the safety of the animals and employees. As far as the “behaviorists” who are clearly NOT QUALIFIED I think should be reported to the Newington Police Department for animal cruelty. Who are they to say whether a cat or dog should be euthanized when in fact they are not properly trained to evaluate them at all in that manner. Also who are they to even make such decisions within a very short period of time and not giving an animal a chance. It is common sense that any type of animal would be depressed, scared and not themselves when first arriving to an animal clinic. Sounds to me that Richard Johnston has no problem euthanizing animals because WE all know that it is a lot cheaper to euthanize an animal rather than feed and shelter one…

    Thank you Bridget for gathering all of this information and making the public aware!

  13. Concerned too on February 8, 2010 at 1:40 am

    Brigette thank you for doing your job and getting this information out to the public. This information is very important to know. It’s nice to know someone was looking out for CHS and it’s employees and animals.” Unbelieveable” is right, how can anyone ignore that facts. The upper management turning down this analysis review is not professional at all. They either didn’t care or didn’t want to speak up against Mr. Johnston. And the recent firings are ridculous. I’m sure Gertude O. Lewis ( the founder) wouldn’t stand for this if she were alive today.

  14. Maureen on February 8, 2010 at 3:26 am

    I can personally attest that everything in this article is true. I worked closely with Bridget and assisted her in compiling the statistics mentioned in this article. I also was a participant in the meetings where the above mentioned discussions were held.

    I had a personal interaction with a “behaviorist” who borrowed my video camera to document a dog which she believed had food bowl aggression. She returned my camera to me, saying that she had been unable to tape evidence of the behavior and that she would instruct the staff not to feed the dog so she could try and tape the behavior the following morning. She was still unable to document the behavior the following morning after depriving the dog of food.

    I also feel the need to mention another important point which is not mentioned in this post or any other. Although Bridget was employed at CHS in the Finance Department, she was also schooled as a dog trainer and is currently in the process of obtaining her certification. She volunteered many hours of her own time socializing dogs with sometimes minor behavior problems in an effort to increase their chances of adoption. Too many times she was disappointed when these dogs were not allowed the time necessary for her to improve their behavior and she was unable to save them. She was no mere administrative employee without expertise or interaction with these animals. She has firsthand knowledge of what happened with these dogs.

    Bridget and all the employees, volunteers and members of the public who are coming forward have everything to lose and nothing to gain with regard to bringing these events to the public. Our concern is for the lives and well-being of the animals, which is the reason we all support the organization to begin with. The Connecticut Humane Society does not belong to one person and his trusted inner circle, but to all the supporters who entrust the organization to properly care for the animals who can’t speak for themselves. Firing long-term, qualified and dedicated animal care workers is not in the best interest of the animals. It is our duty as supporters of the Society to demand that proper levels of qualified staff members are available to care for the thousands of animals that come into the care of CT Humane each year.

    • Lindsay on February 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

      You don’t have that tape handy, do you? That would just be icing on the cake!

    • DC on February 8, 2010 at 7:43 pm

      Why don’t you tell the correct story. 1. No dog has ever been starved or had food withheld for foodbowl testing 2. This “lack of evidence ” was a result of a program to modify resource possession and the dog was then found a home. It is funny how these details are spun to support your mission.

      • anony mouse on February 8, 2010 at 8:46 pm


        I have personally been told to not feed a dog, as “it is getting tested later.” More than once. And I know many methods of modifying resource aggressive behavior, most of which involve slow feeding, continuous availability, and exposure therapy. No approved method involves starvation.
        Your continued insistance that reality isn’t real, and everyone except you is a liar is further proof that you are a shill for management. I hope you share in their fate.

        • Lindsay on February 8, 2010 at 9:12 pm

          That’s because DC WAS management. She was once a pretty good person, had a real passion for the animals. But it seems like power gets the best of people. It’s a shame.

      • Been there done that on February 8, 2010 at 11:41 pm

        DC get real. I was the person who was doing the filming for Tabatha one day and she couldn’t get the dog that she was testing to do what she wanted so she informed incomming staff not to feed the dog that night or in the morning and she would retest him in the morning. I call that starving the animal.

      • Maureen on February 9, 2010 at 12:11 am

        DC, I have no reason to “spin” this. I am merely reporting the events as they were related to me. I am very pleased that there was no evidence of food bowl agression found with this dog. However, it was very clear to me that the individual was not trying to find evidence of a program to modify resource posession because when the camera was requested, she stated that she was trying to tape an example of a severely food bowl agressive dog. I also wonder why you claim to know exactly which dog I am referring to, because the video camera was used on many different occasions for behavior testing.

      • Lindsay on February 9, 2010 at 8:05 pm

        And it’s funny how someone who should have been helping the dogs with issues found it amusing one day to dangle a dog in front of me like a toy, sickly commenting that if I didn’t take him in he was going to be euthanized shortly after. He was returned for dog aggression, I suggested breed rescue (cattle dog), but that was denied. She knew I had dogs at home and it was in no way safe for me to put them at risk by taking a known dog-bitting dog. But because she wasn’t particularly fond of the breed or this particular dog she tried to make his death into a game. She even chuckled as I said no, and told me to say goodbye to him.

  15. Janet Ziegler on February 8, 2010 at 6:28 am

    I have been keeping up with this nightmare going on in Newington. My dear friend Lynn Hellingher has been fired on Friday, for what, for caring for all the poor animals in that place. I am an animal rescuer and a volunteer for Out to Pasture Farm and Rescue. I have stopped people from donating to this place and will continue to spread the word on what is going on there. How can they claim to be a no kill shelter is beyond me. At least some of the animals had a chance with Lynn there. Many would come in and adopt them just to save their lives. I hope the general public is reading all the stories being told about the animals dying every day for nothing. How can these fools call themselves Animal Behaviorist when they starve an animals to test for food aggression. Or claim they are vicious because they are frightened to death. I would be frighten too if I ended up in this dump. If something isn’t done here to get this place back into shape again, if that is even possible I will continue to tell people not to go there and not to donate. If enough of us spread the word we can make a difference. We who claim to care about the rights of animals all need to do what we need to do to save the lives of the animals left behind. With all the caring people being fired all that is left is the sick human beings who do not care at all for animals, just money! If I can help in anyway please feel free to contact me. I was given a big mouth for a reason and I am ready to use it to help get the word out to all to stop the inhumane treatment going on in Newington. These animals are probably better off dead, sad to say, but what kind of lives do they have in there, being starved, in cages to small to turn around, unloved, unwanted, killed if they bark, killed if they lunge for food cause they are starved, is this a life worth living. Sleep is heaven to those forced to live like this. My heart bleeds for all the animals there.
    Give me 5 minutes with the people running this dump, cameras off and turn me loose, I’ll show them what vicious really looks like!

  16. Jan Kozlowski on February 8, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Unfortunately, I am right down on the floor with you, Mayor. As a volunteer I knew there was a great deal wrong with CHS, but reading this report and understanding the magnitude of the damage done to both animals and people at this supposedly “humane” place is just staggering. I look at the 8 wonderful, rescued pets that share my life with me and know that none of them would be alive if they had had the misfortune to end up at CHS. Thank you for your courage, Bridget, Cathy and all the other employees and volunteers who are finally speaking up and a huge thank you to George for his hard work in giving them, and the animals, a voice.

  17. Mayor Of Dogtown on February 8, 2010 at 10:09 am

    I’ve got to add another story here. The story of Chinook….He was a ten month old great Pyranese. Very untrained and needed a lot of training…but all in all he had such potential. He had been returned twice already for being too much dog. Us volunteer’s who worked with him made such huge progress with him. We had an event up at Uconn with the Mobile Adoption bus…2 dogs were selected to take on the trip with us. There were three volunteers on the bus, two of which were volunteer trainers, me being one of them. There was also a very savvy staff member in charge of the event. WE made a decision to take Chinook as well so he would get out of the shelter for a day and we’d get al ot of one on one time with him plus he’d get to see what life is like out of the shelter. When we got back, Kitty took me aside and was very stern with me for taking the dog out without permission. The staff member in charge of the event as well as the incoming staff agreed with me that it was a great idea plus we knew he’d just sit in his cage all day and go un noticed. I apologized for taking him but I also said that I thought it was the best thing for that dog that day. The next few days, he was a different dog. He saw life on the outside and we made more progress with his training, the following weekend….When a couple came in and looked at him….I immediately went into the room with them to show them and the counselor how smart this dog was and the potential he had. I explained to them that while he was a very smart dog, he was the type you MUST stay on top of all the time til he learns he must act ina certain way all the time. He absolutely hated having anything on his muzzle so we worked him with a harness rather than a gentle leader. The woman said that she’s always had large lab type dogs and always used a gentle leader, I explained to her that this is a shelter dog, he has a lot of potential but he’s got some issues and one of those issues is he is very reactive to the gentle leader and strongly advised against it. She said, “oh he will get used to it”.. I said no, no he will not, it could get ugly. She said that she’s work with him on it and he’ll be fine. I went to Kitty and told her what was going on and that i didn’t think this was a good fit and had a bad feeling about it. She said, well there is nothing on this application that we can reject them on and frankly, the alternative is to watch him deteriorate in his kennel. The counselor and I both looked at each in disgust and went back and tried to sell this woman on the Easy walker harness, Chinook was very responsive to the harness and knew he was IN SCHOOL when he had this on so it worked for him. Well the next week, Chinook was brought back because he nipped the woman when she tried to get the Gentle Leader on him. I got several messages on my phone from people from the shelter who knew I had a love for this dog. They told me he was going to be put down. I cried like a little girl because I felt it was my fault since I was part of the adoption. You have no idea how that feels. If there was any way I could have been in that room with him, I’d have done it. There is no way he deserved to go down without feeling some love in the room. On top of this whole ordeal, I was also instructed to NOT tell other volunteer’s about him doing down especially two specific volunteer trainers who also had a love for this dog. It was so painful to lie but I feared consequences if I disobeyed. When this one volunteer asked if I had any news on Chinook yet, I blushed and said…well I guess no news is good news…and have never really been able to look her in the eye since. She had a right to know. I will never forget Chinook as long as I live because I felt like the system let him down. Just to get him out the door, he paid for it with his life.

    • Kate on February 8, 2010 at 11:47 am

      I can’t understand why an organization like the Humane Society needs to be keeping secrets from the people who work there. This group should be doing work that it can be proud of. The fate of every dog and every cat should be easy to find…because they should be making success stories, not killing so many and then trying to hide it. Transparency seems like it should be an obvious goal in an organization that boasts about its work. I am ashamed and embarrassed that this much killing has become the acceptable status quo.

      Thank you to everyone who has come forward and exposed what’s really going on. We, the public, need to know these things so we can make educated decisions and fight for what we believe in. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      • James on February 9, 2010 at 1:13 am

        Kate, you captured it perfectly: transparency is what is needed–what the animals need. Transparency in euthanasia numbers and records of those decisions would be a start.

        • kjh on February 9, 2010 at 7:35 am

          How many times do we need to hear that Richard still claims that at one time CHS adopted over 9,000 animals in the past? Prove it and then it willbe believed. When I worked there several long-term employees commented that CHS never adopted out that many animals. Those numbers are most likely unachievable, especially in this economy and he knows that which is how he justifies not having to hire more staff. When I left managing at CHS we were in the beginning stages of not hiring and the reasons were to jhave an excuse to jump on the band wagon that it was due to bad economical times. We certainly weren’t even close to being overstaffed then and shouldn’t have been an issue. I’ve heard about the decline in staff for almost 2 years and can’t believe the BOD is still allowing this to happen. Who is caring for the animals? Anyone who thinks managment is taking over is sadly mistaken. I can attest to many of what Bridget has stated. Although I can’t comment on details to which I wasn’t present I can say that the monthly manager’s meetings between all 3 shelters is just a way to see branch met their adoption “numbers” and cause an unhealthy competition among the shelter branches. It’s all about numbers and that’s the bottom line. It doesn’t matter that there may have been an outbreak or illness that closed down adoptions, the reasons didn’t matter. Nothing else matters and no matter how many times any of the shelters met that quoted of adoptions it’s never good enough. And I’m confused as to why there isn’t a record of euthanasia’s? That was always part of the monthly manager reports so CHS could validate they are keeping their euthanasia numbers down below 10% of total animals brought through the system. (I guess they’re not documenting that anymore for some reason…) I hope there is a resolution to all of this. The donors deserve better and need to know how dedicated the staff is to their mission and to let them do their jobs. One of the favorite sayings in the culture of CHS, “We always do the right thing”. Maybe now is the time to hold true to your own words…..

    • Mer on February 8, 2010 at 12:41 pm

      I remember a 10 month old purebred looking Burmese Mountain Dog. The dog was a bundle of energy and would grow to be quite big, so he was not for ages 10 and under. Well, a “good match” (read “rich looking”) family came in with a 6 year old child and insisted upon seeing the dog. The adoption counselors correctly advised the family the Burmese was too much dog to have interact with such a small child. They pitched a huge fit and the manager on duty said it was fine (and acted like the counselors were in the wrong). I don’t recall whether it was in the interaction or once they/if they took the dog home – it got rambunctious and nicked the child – a puppy teeth injury – a result of play – not aggressive behavior. The nip did not even break the skin.

      CHS put the dog (still a baby!) down immediately.

    • Lynzee and Malfoy on February 8, 2010 at 3:07 pm

      Mayor- you did nothing wrong. Maybe if Kitty was the one who was nipped she might then take lead from the people who KNOW!

      • Lindsay on February 8, 2010 at 9:55 pm

        Oh she has been, because she can’t read the animals body language properly!

  18. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by George Gombossy, James and maureenlord, Coalition for Change. Coalition for Change said: RT @ctwatchdog Inside View At Connecticut Humane Society: Former Finance Assistant Details Needly Killing Of Animals […]

  19. Jan Kozlowski on February 8, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I put together a list of links to email addresses and comment forms for our Governor, AG, state legislators, as well as larger media outlets at my website, I sent emails to everyone listed asking for them to investigate further and not allow this situation to get lost or fall through the cracks.

  20. Miss Jiminy Crickett on February 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    While my primary concern is for the animals, as it should be, I feel I must remind you all that the internet is a public forum, and anyone can see what you post, and be hurt by it. I ask only that you think twice before you post a mean-spirited comment about someone you don’t know.

    I had the distinct pleasure of working with the young lady that is your new Team Leader when she was employed at the Humane Society of Central Oregon, and I always found her to be a highly professional, skilled and compassionate coworker, whose concern for the animals could in no way be questioned. She should not be punished for loving animals and wanting to continue working with them now that she has returned to Connecticut.

    If I may, I would like to stand up for my former colleague, and hopefully put your minds at ease regarding her qualifications.

    Firstly, she is new to the area and your specific situation, but is not new to animal care or shelter management, and as such you have no right to prejudge her based upon the feelings you have toward your current and previous management staff.

    Secondly, some of you have said some very hurtful things about her age and appearance, and hinted that you think if she had a heart she should immediately step down. Why? Why should she lose the income she needs to pay for her home and family when all she did was apply for the job she most enjoys doing, when working with animals is what she loves to do, because you have a problem with the people that hired her? Also, why would you want her to? You have already expressed concerns about being understaffed, why place more unnecessary stress upon the animals by getting rid of someone who is there to help you care for them? She did not create the work environment she has inherited, but maybe with your help she can improve it.

    She was hired the same way anyone is hired anywhere. She had an interest in the position available and submitted her resume. Clearly her resume contained the necessary job skills and qualifications for the position, because she was then interviewed by her immediate supervisor (a woman), and subsequently hired. Your boss, Mr. J, may indeed be a pig and a loser, but as far as I know my friend never even met him prior to being offered the job. Your belief that she is incapable of fulfilling her duties just because she is young and female is close-minded, sexist and hurtful.

    The Humane Society of Central Oregon, where I worked with your new Team Leader, is a busy, high volume facility, but with workers and management like her, who have excellent educations, personality, and passion for animals, it has and continues to fulfill its goal of providing the best care possible for innocent animals, and the public who would adopt them. My friend is a Team Leader. Team. That would be you. Work with her. Learn from her. I am certain that if you give her a fair chance, she will impress you with her dedication both to the animals, and to you.

    Good luck to all of you on your quest to protect the rights of your friends, and the animals you all care for, but please think twice before belittling people you know little about. Save your criticisms for those who have earned them!
    Your new Team Leader’s primary concern is for the animals. I know that is something you have in common.

    • Lindsay on February 8, 2010 at 9:05 pm

      Well, if I may, I’m going to argue her “work-ethic” since I’m not sure what help she is when she walks into a room, sprays a cage while her boss is watching, and as soon as the boos leaves she turns to another worker to inform her she can dry the cage whenever she wants, then walks away. A fair chance would be asssuming she walked in and was open minded and didn’t give these people an attitude. Learn from her you say? I’m sure I’ve lost more knowledge than she has. In this world of animals, she’s a meer baby. And for her to be in a leadership position over people who have more knowledge and experience, she should be a little more humble, and perhaps learn from them. Being a leader doesn’t give you the right to tower about the team. If she’s truley a TEAM player, she’ll realize that.

      • to lindsay on February 9, 2010 at 7:42 am

        Lindsay, you do “not” work there right? So maybe you should stop the character assassination of someone you have never met and stop blowing your own horn so hard. You’re beginning to seem like a vindictive person, you’re only hurting the cause.

        • Concerned too on February 9, 2010 at 11:17 am

          She’s a caring and responsible person who is speaking up about the rights for the animals and staff.
          Are you afraid of the truth? And believe it or not, alot of what Lindsay is saying is correct.

          • Lindsay on February 9, 2010 at 7:44 pm

            Not to mention, in the state the the organization is currently in, the LAST thing they need is a green horn in there trying to get her feet wet in the business. This is going to take someone highly experienced in running a shelter, preferably, an entire group of people who have been through a similar scneario before and know what works and what doesn’t. This is no time to be experimenting and playing out a fantasy role. I believe everyone needs to work from the bottom up. How can you possibly know how to manage someone if you haven’t been managed yourself? You need to experience what works, decide what you don’t like, then when you move up, make a change. She just can’t do that. I’ve looked at the postings online, and those requirements are significantly sub-par for the jobs they are to be performing. Especially the part about the “college not required”…who in this day and age doesn’t require a college degree especially in a field where you just can’t learn it all on the fly.

        • Lindsay on February 9, 2010 at 7:11 pm

          I have enough references from current employees to know I’d feel the same way. I’ve been the black sheep many times before because I absolutely refuse to kiss any one’s ass, regardless of how it may harm my career or position. I’ve lost out on sports teams, on job promotions, all because I am who I am and I will not change to be something someone can mold. When I DID work there, I spent my mandatory month following a manager for trainging, but beoynd that I immediately distanced myself. It doesn’t take a genius to see what wrong things go on in there and how they pit one against another to see who will do their bidding, And I don’t blow my horn, I state facts about who I am and what I do. And the fact is her 8 months of experience just don’t stack up to the people she is managing, especially since most of them share the exact same degree as her.

          • Tuity Fruity on February 10, 2010 at 4:18 pm

            You want to talk about experience? At least her 8 months of experience gave her the ability to know the difference between a male and a female kitten. (Of which a 5-year employee did not know the difference.) Time is just a number. What matters is how much you actually learn and prove to be useful in that amount of time. Lindsay, unfortunately, you are just sounding spiteful. Many of the people on this site have valid arguments but you are just sounding more and more like an irrational, unstable fool.

          • Lindsay on February 10, 2010 at 7:51 pm

            Hey fruity, I can tell the difference between male and female kittens too, and I did when I took home a kitten while working there. The vet said it was female and a real quick check proved me right as he was in fact male. You have no iddea of my knowledge and background. I’ve worked with animals for 10 years, I’d say that’s long enough to know what I’m doing. Not to mention I make myself incredibly useful by fostering dogs that no one else can handle.

          • Mer on February 11, 2010 at 10:57 am

            Tuity, I’m not really sure what kind of point you are trying to make. That people make mistakes? Well here’s one for you:

            The last dog I adopted from CHS was a “male” according the MANAGER assisting us based on the very scientific sexing technique that “it didn’t have a spay scar.” The lack of male genitalia seemed not to factor into this conclusion.

            The dog was and remains to this day completely and obviously female.

            Or perhaps the time, many years before that when another MANAGER sent us home with a spayed female spaniel, a companion animal for the same breed we had at home. Although the dog interaction went well it was bloody violent once the animals were home together. That’s because the spayed female was not only NOT spayed, but she was also now in heat.

            This would not be a big deal except for the fact that when we returned to have the dog spayed (which they did back then, don’t know if they do still) the manager was rude, nasty, said we didn’t know what we were talking about and that we weren’t good pet owners (although our family VET confirmed female, unspayed, in heat). Needless to say, that adoption failed because of management error compounded by management attitude. That manager however, still works at CHS.

            People make mistakes, but the management holds themselves out as the authorities, not the staff. They have a greater duty to be correct in these details. So if you are going to gripe about something as insignificant as sexing a kitten, keep in mind management, because they are management are expected to be correct in such matters.

      • Another Volunteer on February 9, 2010 at 8:58 am

        I have to echo the comments of Miss Jiminy Crickett. The new team leader is just that: New. Some people commenting here have already assumed that she’s the devil and have condemned her. She must feel when she walks into a room and sprays a cage that there are people lying in wait waiting for her to do something they can point fingers at and say, “Aha! See, we were right! She’s awful!”

        My thought is to give her a break. Instead of expecting her to fail, root her on to succeed and be what you want in a manager. She’ll make mistakes, but I suggest you view those in the context of her total performance as a manager.

        I once was hired from the outside to be Director of a factionalized office (not in animal services) when all the staff had expected the Assistant Director, who was head of the largest faction, to be promoted to Director. No one in the office knew me, but I was viewed as the enemy by the majority of the staff (namely, the Assistant Director’s faction). At first, the people in the other factions were against me too because I quickly made it clear that I wouldn’t favor any faction. Let me tell you how miserable it was to go to work everyday in such a negative environment, with most of the staff rooting for me to fail — and trying to find ways for me to do that — and the rest eying me suspiciously, and none of it for anything I did.

        I have a lot of empathy for a new person who comes in being viewed as the enemy just because she’s management when no one knows her yet.

        Again, the new team leader at CHS is new. When she’s not with other managers — when you have a chance to be one-on-one with her — I suggest staff and volunteers try to engage her and show her support in her efforts to do a good job. If she turns out to be a poor manager, you’ll have plenty of time to change how you treat her, but once you position yourselves to treat her badly, you’ll not easily be able to change that if it turns out you’re wrong.

        CHS is clearly a bad place for many animals with challenges who have needlessly lost their lives, and has a poor working environment, The management practices are dismaying. I support the unionization, and I’ve been enlghtened by the articles I’ve read here on That doesn’t mean that a new manager should be treated as the enemy. You’ve read what her former colleague has said. Give her a chance.


        • Lindsay on February 9, 2010 at 7:52 pm

          If she turns out to be a poor manager, you’ll know real quick – you’ll get fired if she opens herr mouth to the other managers about what you say, so I would tread lightly on that. Unfortunately with the way things are, no one can be trusted until they are on the chopping block, and that she is not. I believe they did give her a chance, but then again two of them got fired so I guess there’s no chance to change that opinion now.

    • Marge on February 8, 2010 at 9:17 pm

      Sad to say, people can change and not always for the best, You haven’t worked with her in here, as we have not worked with her in Oregon. Different place, different times, seems like a different person.

      CHS employees who have excellent educations, personalities and passion for animals and have stood up for what was right, have lost their jobs and their ability to meet their finanical obligations. They stood up for what was right. These are wonderful people that not only have the courage of their convictions, but the courage to stand by them.

      .As a “Team Leader’ you cannot seperate concern for the animals from concern for your team. They go hand in hand, something a good manager/team leader would know.

    • anony mouse on February 8, 2010 at 9:17 pm

      For what it is worth, M seems like a fine person, but we are all judged by the company we keep. If M does indeed want to improve the lives of the animals and staff, then her actions will speak for her, and any doubters will be convinced. If, however, she becomes just another acolyte of her mentor, then I fear that your faith in her will be betrayed. She has an option. I wouldn’t advise anyone to sacrifice a job, not in this economy. But she can stand firm for what (if your opinion of her is valid) she knows is right; or she can become a part of the cycle of abuse.

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 8, 2010 at 10:01 pm

      I dont have a specific issue either way with tihs new team leader, in fact, I feel sorry for her for what she is walking into. IN fact that is why I say, she should run as fast as she can. If she does not bow down to Mr J’s wishes she will be run out just like the long list of people ahead of her. It’s a sad existance there for one reason and his name is Johnston. I wish her luck but if she thinks she can make a positive difference in that place, she will soon find out she is not allowed to. He does not allow individuality…you must be a puppet for him. The problem she is facing is that she’s being thrust into a bad situation….she is being asked to sit in on performance appraisals that are loaded with lies and fabrications and she has no experience with these people to know they are not true.

    • Focus on February 8, 2010 at 10:24 pm

      I feel terrible for her. I am quite certain that she loves animals and that’s why she took this position. She is truly between a rock and a hard place and I don’t envy her the scenario she has found herself in. I hope that she is able to effectuate positive change, along with the rest of us.

      • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 8, 2010 at 11:13 pm

        Sadly, she will not be able to. Once she starts to question why things are the way they are, she will be blacklisted like every other manager or team leader before her. It’s one of those situations where you do what he says or you get out. If he is gone, she can help turn this place around and get it back to what it once was. It’s going to be a huge undertaking on everyones part but the main piece of the puzzle is, we need new leadership in order for change to take place.

        • jayjay on February 9, 2010 at 1:05 pm

          I wanted to comment on the new team leader. She may be a caring individual that loves animals and is great to work with but we have not seen any of that so far. She seems more concerned in rewriting adoptions secondary chore lists and making poop charts. Most days like the new assistant district managers she can me found huddled in the grooming room on the computer. But like I said before we can not place sol blame on her its what she is being fed from the other managers. If they had hired someone that had more than 8months work experience maybe the staff and volunteers would be more inclined to trust in her judgement. I think we are all like a dog that has been kicked one to many times we have finally had enough and we are now biting back. I am truly sorry that her feelings have been hurt, but people have lost there jobs and animals have been put to sleep so a little hut feelings seem even to me

          • Mer on February 9, 2010 at 4:39 pm

            I certainly think the new manager/team leader should be given a chance, but I think that frustration stems from exactly who they hired: a young, inexperienced person who is going to hang on managements’ every word and learn all of their bad habits without it being tempered with anything good.

            It’s no coincidence that CHS hires people with the most minimal or ancillary experience that happen to match the job description. They are looking for a certain, weaker, submissive personality type that can be easily controlled and manipulated.

            I don’t think anyone has a personal issue with the new manager, it’s what she is a representation of that causes animosity.

  21. Eleanor on February 8, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated” – Mahatma Gandhi-

  22. Scottish Lass on February 8, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I adopted the love of my life from the Newington CHS recently and I didn’t see any evidence of bad care, mistreatment or unhappy employees. My adoption counselor was great, she asked all the right questions did an interaction with my other dog and cat tested him too. My husband and had to come by and meet the dog and they did a Vet Check too. At the time there were volunteers walking dogs and happily spending time with them. The adoption went smoothlly, our new dog is working out great and we are currently taking classes at a private facility. I think that there are 2 sides to every story and this one seems a bit suspect to me. I wonder if some of the volunteers posting here allowed themselves to get far too attached to the dogs in there care and are now over reacting? Until i see proof of all these allegations I will continue to support the Humane society and be ever thankful that they saved my new best friend form gassing in a Shelter down south.

    • Marge on February 9, 2010 at 7:39 am

      Of course you wouldn’t see unhappy employees. All the ones that were fired or left were professionals and provided great customer service and animal care, while working under awful conditions. Read the letter from Bridget, check the number of employees that have left because they couldn’t take it anymore or the amount that were fired.The volunteers who verify the conditions. Your dog, the one you love so much, could have been one of the poor animals put down. Take the rose colored glasses off. This is sort of like seeing the perfect family every day, but it reality, out of sight of the public, the husband beats the wife and she in turn abuses the children.

    • Also a Volunteer on February 9, 2010 at 9:25 am

      All I can say is that if workers are being written up and fired for not smiling enough and not making eye contact (and they are, see Ryan’s posted performance review page) – she needs to step it up in that department!

      • Also a Volunteer on February 9, 2010 at 10:23 am

        this was meant as a reponse to Jiminy Cricket

    • Also a Volunteer on February 9, 2010 at 10:29 am

      And that wonderful adoption counselor was most likely fired last week. I’m a volunteer. I can tell you that I am pleasant and happy and love the animals. I’m not walking around there giving the stink eye to everyone. You are not going to walk in there and see World War 3. The animals are not being mistreated. The issue is that they are understaffed and the animals are not getting walked and fed and cleaned quickly enough. The issue is that good people are being fired for ridiculous reasons and treated very poorly. To an outsider – you are not going to see all of this, you are not going to see what is going on behind the scenes. Please do support CHS. The animals still need homes. Nobody is asking anyone to ban adopting from CHS. We are asking for Richard Johnston and his Board to respond to the issues that have been raised and to help seek resolution to problems that cannot be denied. And yet we have heard nothing. We have only seen more and more people getting fired and we are losing more and more good, caring workers. I’m thrilled you adopted from CHS and I’m very happy it’s working out. I don’t blame you for being skeptical because what is going on there is almost unbelievable. If I didn’t know it and see it firsthand myself, I wouldn’t believe it either.

      • Focus on February 9, 2010 at 7:33 pm

        The situation is worse than that. Animals that have slight behavioral issues are being put to sleep because, as understaffed as CHS is, no one has time to work with them. It is a very serious issue for a charity that holds itself out as a compassionate place.

    • OMD on February 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm

      Its not the Volunteer intent to harm animals. As far as becoming too attached to the animals that would make us heartless. How would you feel if your new love was at the shelter and room had to be made. Wouldnt have he or she would you! None of this is made up do you really think George would be posting these articles without the proof. As far as adopting a dog recently there is no way it could have come from the south because CHS hasn’t had a shipment for months from down South.

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 9, 2010 at 4:17 pm

      So Lass, your basically saying what we’ve been saying all along. These employee’s do their job and do it well. They treat people with courtesy and they “DO THE RIGHT THING”. As bad as it is behind the scenes, they still manage to smile and do their job. I would be willing to bet that the person who did your adoption was one of the two who were fired this weekend.

      Over reacting? Please, we are thrilled when we find out that an animal that we have befriended has gone home, we practically have a party for them. We announce it in the lobby to have staff come and say goodbye….It’s a great time, it’s not about over reacting. I encourage you to keep supporting the organization but as a donor, ask what becomes of your donation. Ask the girls who do toy drives in lieu of birthday presents for the pets what happens to those toys, they get sold at events to benefit the Organization. They make money off of donations. Did you see a few months ago that when we were short on blankets and bedding that Mr Johnston ordered the web site folks to ask for NEW BLANKETS only…not used ones or gently used ones. Only new ones would be asked for. Who in their right mind will go out and buy linens for a dog to pee on because they don’t have the proper staff to take them out for a walk…..

  23. uberVU - social comments on February 9, 2010 at 1:19 am

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by ctwatchdog: Inside View At Connecticut Humane Society: Former Finance Assistant Details Needly Killing Of Animals

  24. TimeToGetBusy on February 9, 2010 at 9:39 am

    “Career Openings” has been updated on the CHS webpage as of today. They took down one of the team leader positions. I wonder if they found someone to fill it or if they’ve decided not to.

    Does anyone else think that it’s unfair to donors to pay “team leaders” to do essentially adoption counselor/animal handling work, when they could pay adoption-counselor wages for the same work? Not an efficient use of donors’ funds.

    Then again, if they want to keep out pro-union people, I guess they’ll have to continue to pay management level employees to clean poop and change water bowls….too bad they’re so understaffed that it doesn’t get done until literally hours after it should.

  25. u got to be jokin on February 9, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    You know I would probally give the new team leader a chance. Had she properly introduced herself. Maybe thanked me for comin in as a volunteer. Told me I was doing a great job. But wait I think I have only heard that once on twice from a team leader. So why should she be any different from the rest of the PUPPETS. She is not better than the rest of them.

  26. Just doesn't make sense on February 9, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    What’s with the new job posting at chs? Why are there no job postings for adoption counselor or kennel staff in newington? All I see is manager postions. Only one part-time animal care/building maintenace position for westport? What about newington where they are understaffed!? Is this the right way to run a organization?

    • Concerned too on February 9, 2010 at 1:24 pm

      Part- timers? Chs doesn’t have those positons anymore. Chs fired all the part-time staff in newington ( including Mr. Joohnston’s mother )who were dedicated long-term employees.

      • Concerned Citizen on February 9, 2010 at 1:51 pm

        CHS is hiring all “manager” roles now, “managers” can’t be part of the Union so this is another way to stack the deck

  27. Anon on February 9, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    I agree with Mer. We should give people a fair chance, and what she represents is what creates some of the animosity. I am just commenting to enlighten everyone on how much experience any one of us who are currently working for CHS were required to have if we were even to be considered for these open Team Leader positions. Aside from a college degree, which some of us do possess, we were required to have 4-5 YEARS of kennel/animal care/managerial experience if we wished to apply. Another point that upsets me, and others I am sure, is that she was hired BEFORE the managers ever posted the position internally! None of the current workers ever had a chance for any one of these positions and that blatant unfair treatment raises peoples’ hackles.

    • Mer on February 9, 2010 at 8:21 pm

      I know of at least one employee who has a college degree, supervisory/management experience of a team of 5-7 people, including financial and inventory matters AND who (despite living an hour away) was offered a management position at one of the other shelters. However, this same employee magically has been routinely “unqualified” for any of the leadership positions that have opened in Newington. Again, Johnston doesn’t want talent in Newington, only controllable puppets.

      Look also to the requirements for the Customer Service position. A college degree and multiple years in animal care – to run the front desk? A person who had all those very specific qualifications who would actually take that job at that pay (in a better economy) is one no other business would want. Again, another easily manipulated victim of CHS.

      I think it also paints a picture that the Customer Service position used the word “subordinates” 2 or 3 times. It may seem like a small matter but to me it reads like a job description seeking someone with a high affinity for power – which plays straight into Johnston’s MO of exploit and manipulate.

  28. Anon on February 9, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    One more point about the hiring of the new manager, yes she was hired to be a “team” leader, but thanks to the firing of so many employees her “team” now consists of two people. This place keeps hiring managers and firing employees, soon all that will be left is managers who have no one to manage.

  29. Cathy Derench on February 10, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Based on these words from Ms. Kachere “There were even times that “behaviorists” starved the dogs before a food bowl aggression test to make them more aggressive. Then they would shove a fake hand in their faces while they were eating. Of course the dogs acted aggressively, I would too in the same situation. This is not an empty accusation either. Witnesses to these abuses are numerous and would attest to observing these despicable acts of inhumanity.”

    I have been one of the rescuers called into to take a dog of my specific breed…and I did witness the fake hand routine, which I also feel is beyond ridiculous … the dog after being jabbed by the hand in the face while eating multiple times, went for the hand…AS I WOULD DO MYSELF….I was told he could not be placed…and that if I didn’t take him, he was going down…of course, I took him…and that was at least 2 yeras ago…he lives with a wonderful family locally…and is an amazing companion…no issues of aggression AT ALL.

    This entire situation needs tremendous focus…and remedy, immediately.

    Cathy Derench

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 10, 2010 at 4:03 pm

      I’m holding up my margarita glass as we speak to CHEER that comment! Thank you Cathy…who for you nay sayers….is NOT an employee, disgruntled employee, former staff member or volunteer…..she has nothing to gain or lose here…..

    • MMann on February 10, 2010 at 4:16 pm

      What your’re stating is regardless of anyones opinion of the testing process, The behavior consult despite not having the resources to work through this situation on their own took the time to contact rescue rather than choose euthanasia as an option?

      This does not sound like an uncaring place or group of people at all.

      • Mer on February 10, 2010 at 4:33 pm

        You are correct, the CHS is (quickly becoming “was”) full of many caring people!

        Although your above, intentional misstatement of Cathy’s highly negative, exploitative and manipulative experience is not representative of those caring people.

      • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 10, 2010 at 4:54 pm

        MOST of the time, it is the adoption counselor’s who contact their breed rescue’s for help so a dog has one last shot. Now with those said people gone…..hope is nearly lost.

  30. Mer on February 10, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    To the small dissenting voice – I offer you this comparison.

    The CHS is no different than a nursing home or any other full time care facility wherein the duty of care for the residents falls 100% on the staff. You tend to find 2 situations.

    Situation One presents a friendly, rewarding work environment. People tend to be over qualified for their job but they do it because they enjoy the work and ensuing reward. They are treated well and go above and beyond to ensure patient care.

    Situation Two presents a hostile work environment. Workers are over managed and understaffed and underpaid. Care for the residents drops off into nothing because the only people willing to work in such a hole are the least caring, qualified or compassionate. It’s just a paycheck to them.

    So before you start casting blame on the employees and volunteers think for a moment about the above two scenarios and tell me which nursing home you want your kids saving up for? The nice home where you get to socialize with others, have good food and services and get out of your room whenever you want, or the crooked home where you could be dead in your bed for days before the staff bothers to notice the stench?

    If you really think the CHS employees and volunteers are in the wrong for being too emotionally entrenched and bitterly tired from their hard work (and subsequent abuse) then I’m sure you won’t have any trouble rotting your golden years away awash in your own filth in nursing home 2. I mean, certainly you wouldn’t want staff who cared for you appropriately and humanely – their extra investment in your well being just might drive the prices up.

    And if you think your ability to communicate you needs while in rehab from major surgery or after a stroke or during cancer treatment will be far superior to that of an animal in cage, well, to that I just say you’d better hope for people more compassionate than yourself looking out for you.

  31. Karma on February 11, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Ms. Karchere,under the original assumption that CHS would only hire a qualified behaviorist, went to the “behaviorist” for help with her dog with behavioral issues. Because Bridget only being a dog trainer knew she didn’t have the knowledge to diagnose behavior problems.
    A dog trainer is not qualified to be a behaviorist. And a dog trainer without any other qualifications is not qualified to run a program of this size.
    Point in case… The cruel and inhumane euthanasia practices that had been and currently are occurring at CHS.
    One last thing..what happened to Sasha??? She was returned and stealthy euthanized. Just so you know…

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 11, 2010 at 9:17 pm

      ….and this was kept secret for so long because they knew of the backlash over this. All of us trainers spent endless time with Sasha. We should have been told as soon as it were done if not before so maybe we could have collectively found another solution.

      • Mer on February 11, 2010 at 9:34 pm

        You mean the mostly white pittie with the startling the green eyes that the volunteer trainers spent week upon week working with? The same Sasha that went home knowing all of her commands and whose only flaw was too much exuberance?

        If so, that is beyond reprehensible and I’m shocked they have any volunteers left.

        • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 12, 2010 at 11:33 am

          No, sasha was like that grey blue color…gorgeous eyes, so smart but same deal…she knew all of her commands and then some, but was VERY full of life. She would be a hard nut to crack. YOu just had to tire her out. Endless amount of energy due to the fact that she has spent most of her life in some sort of a shelter environment. It’s a shame that she spent all of her puppy hood behind bars and untimately got put down anyway because she was returned twice for being too much dog.

      • Alpha Dog on February 11, 2010 at 9:46 pm

        Are you talking about the pitbull Sasha that was there forever? When and why was she returned? And WHY was she euthanized? Another victim of the management and behaviorist issues of CHS. This beautiful girl was surrendered as just a baby, around 7 months old if I remember correctly. She started having some minor behavioral issues associated with being kenneled too long. The “assistant behaviorist “was told to start working with her or it would be her fault if the dog was euthanized. Her training methods consisted of taking Sasha out once a week only after other staff members complained that she wasn’t working with Sasha at all. She would put a gentle leader on Sasha so tightly it actually left marks and removed the hair from her muzzle. She would walk Sasha around the building and reprimand the dog for everything. After about 15 minutes she would get tired of trying to get Sasha to listen to her and put her back in her cage. I must also mention that this was also the ONLY person allowed to walk or take Sasha out of her cage. Because of this neglect Sasha deteriated very quickly and from what I know towards the end that it came down to euthanizing her or simply letting “just” anyone adopt her, even if it wasn’t the best placement for her. I was not aware that she was returned and euthanized and am very saddened to learn that this was poor Sasha’s fate. RIP Sasha…….

    • Maureen on February 13, 2010 at 3:21 pm

      If this is the Sasha I’m thinking of, I made a video to promote her adoption last summer. You can view it here

      • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 13, 2010 at 6:19 pm

        That’s my Sasha….I was heartbroken to learn she was put down when she was returned a second time. The worst part of it, is that only a select few knew of her being euthanised and whenever asked if we’ve heard from Sasha’s new family, we were told…well no news is good news. I think at the very least those of us who worked Sasha on a daily basis and who posted her on Facebook, to help get her adopted should have been told. It’s just another part of what is wrong with this organization. YOU CANNOT PLAY GOD TO EVERYTHING! You do not have that right! For all those animals who’ve lost their lives….we’re fighting the good fight for you, don’tcha worry. If you have not seen that video of Sasha please do….and join the fight for her and dogs like her.

        • Mer on February 14, 2010 at 10:28 am

          That’s the same Sasha I was thinking of. I repeatedly told a CHS employee that I would take her if it was either that or euthanasia (this employee never knew she was returned and euthanized). She would not have been a good match for my home but I figured I had a better chance of getting her adopted than CHS did. They never even got her on the foster list to get her out of the kennel and prevent her from going kennel crazy. I would have gladly taken her had I been told the TRUTH and given the opportunity.

  32. Espresso Makers on February 19, 2010 at 2:39 am


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