Ct Humane Society President Chris White Again Caught Telling Fairy Tales

May 16, 2010

The controversial new president of the Connecticut Humane Society has again been caught spinning/fibbing/or ignorance – you decide.

Its not unusual for some newspaper publishers to make up stuff (Courant for instance), but to do it as blatantly and as stupidly as Life Publications owner Chris White does stands out.

You can simply search his name on CtWatchdog and find the other instances where his comments as chairman of the Connecticut Humane Society has had little relationship with reality, but here I will point out the latest: fully documented.

One of the major issues has been the Society’s Board of Directors refusing to meet with staff members who were fired for union activities.

In an email I obtained where White responds to issues raised by a donor, White makes the following statement:

Chris White, CHS President, From his Facebook page

“As for contacting the terminated employees, I can assure you that the committee met with many former employees, including some from the recently terminated group. It was never mentioned on the blogs, but we met with 16 members of the Coalition for Change for more than 3.5 hours one evening. All sides were heard from I can assure you.”

In those two sentences there are four things incorrect. The committee never met with ANY of the five people who were recently fired, claiming it was doing so on the advice of its lawyers. The reason the meeting with the coalition for change was not mentioned initially on my website was because White demanded from the coalition that it not make that meeting public. But prior to his writing the letter (the April 16  complete exchange of letters is bellow) the “secret” meeting was noted in my March 31 column.

I am not the only one contradicting White.

His own director of volunteer services wrote the following to donors and volunteers on May 12:

“BOD has not met with terminated employees but are willing to address them if they want to contact BOD.”

The following is the exchange between the donor and White:

On Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 4:27 PM, <kinsbee1944@comcast.net> wrote:

To whom it may concern, I have been following the events at the Humane Society for quite awhile now, and it goes without saying that I am quite upset about what I read and hear. I donate monthly to the society and also participate as a volunteer in the pet therapy program.

When I first signed on to volunteer, I was told (by the person running the volunteer program at the time) that no animal was “euthanized” unless it had an incurable behavior problem or an incurable disease. I believed that, and I promoted that amongst the people I knew, until one day I was told differently by a woman who had some experiences with the adoption program. ( This woman was in no way connected to the society, but one who had had some bad experiences and swore never to have anything to do with CT Humane again.) That was probably 4 or so years ago. Now that recent events have come to light, I am apt to believe now what I heard.

You say that staff morale has improved– how am I to know that? You say that a board of 5 will look at all animals to be euthanized, and I need to know that all of these people are qualified,and caring and not intimidating to the one or two people who might be in disagreement. I need to know that employees will not be written up for petty things, or questioning instructions. I need also to know if any of the many employees fired in the last couple of years have been contacted for their side of the story. Because, all sides of the story have NOT been heard unless you have talked to these people. And if they haven’t been contacted, why not? I applaud your willingness to be open and cooperative with your staff, and I hope you will, indeed, do so, but I am extremely concerned about those who have been let go– there were too many of them for me to think that the firing was fair.

And, what happened to the vote to unionize? This has not been addressed in your communication. Fighting that option makes it appear you have something to hide.

It is disappointing that an organization, supposedly dedicated to helping animals, has allowed such politics, intimidation and personal grudges to interfere with the real purpose of its existance. I will be withholding my monthly donation until I can be assured that all is well again.

Susan Kinsloe-Byers

From: “Chris White” <chscomments@gmail.com>

To: kinsbee1944@comcast.net

Sent: Friday, April 16, 2010 6:07:00 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern


Dear Ms. Kinsloe-Byers:

First off, I’d like to thank you very much for your donations, volunteering and support for the CT Humane Society. We sincerely appreciate it. The last few months have been a very difficult time for the institution, but we are moving forward and making progress. I can assure you that everyone on the board and in the administration has the best interest of the animals at heart.

To answer your questions. The behavioral euthanasia issue is a very troubling one for all of us. The members of the Board committee tasked with investigating the charges had a great deal of trouble getting to the truth on any specific case of improper euthanization. There can never be a hard and fast rule, it is always a judgment call. Can this animal survive it’s illness and how much pain is it in? Can the aggressive behavior of this dog be reformed? Did this cat bite out of aggression or fear, and will it do it again? I believe the staff is committed to doing the right thing, but people sometimes disagree on what that is. We looked at several specific cases where one person believed the wrong thing was done. The other side believed as strongly that the right thing was done. It was a frustrating he said-she said and we felt that what was more important was to move forward with a new policy that provided more openness and accountability.

I can assure you that all five people on the Newington euthanasia committee are caring, experienced, compassionate people. One is a veterinarian, two are vet techs, one is an animal behaviorist and one has been working in the Animal Care Department for more than a decade and is very well respected by his peers. He has stated to me that he has not been intimidated or pushed into making any decision. (He is the only member of the committee not in management, so the speculation was that he would be the one to be bullied, which I believe is not the case).

As for contacting the terminated employees, I can assure you that the committee met with many former employees, including some from the recently terminated group. It was never mentioned on the blogs, but we met with 16 members of the Coalition for Change for more than 3.5 hours one evening. All sides were heard from I can assure you.

The unionization issue is another troubling one. The CHS had settled the charges with the National Relations Labor Board so that the negotiations with the union could begin immediately. Unfortunately the union would not agree to the settlement, so the process may drag on for years. We were discouraged that we were not able to put this behind us.

I do not expect you to blindly believe what I or the board say. I hope that we can prove to you our commitment to real change through our actions rather than our words. I hope you see that change in the coming months and become willing once again to contribute to the Connecticut Humane Society and the ultimate beneift of the more than 8000 animals we handle each and every year.

Thanks again for your support.

Chris White,

Board President

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69 Responses to Ct Humane Society President Chris White Again Caught Telling Fairy Tales

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by George Gombossy. George Gombossy said: Ct Humane Society President Chris White Again Caught Telling Fairy Tales http://bit.ly/9gOTRt via @AddToAny […]

  2. Greyhound lover on May 16, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Good job George keep em coming.

  3. Chucky_Dee on May 16, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Clearly NO Board Of Directors member should be euthanized – ! well, except for an incurable behavior problem! Does it sound like we are getting close to everyone else? 🙂 I am just kidding of course – I would never treat the BOD the way they do the animals ! George – cut them some slack – maybe they met with the Coalition for Change in Iraq or some OTHER coalition for Change 🙂

    • Cowardly Lion on May 16, 2010 at 7:45 pm

      With all that is going on, the BOD might not need to be euthanised…they might just end it all themselves and make the pain go away….

  4. CS on May 16, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I cannot believe what I just read….
    How much more humiliation is the CHS BOD prepared to endure?

    • Cowardly Lion on May 16, 2010 at 7:43 pm

      I just wish the AG or the State Reps or SOMEONE could just step in and say…ok enough is enough, doors are closed for a period, animals will be taken care of by the incoming staff but we need to look at this place and get it in check.

  5. Mer on May 16, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    So, on one hand we have White saying no particular behavioral euthanasia issue could be isolated/looked into whatever the line was…

    On the other hand, we have a certain “behaviorist” who was just sent home on a 5 day suspension – and since I don’t know why I can only point out the “coincidence” that her suspension occurred at the same time it was suspected she flat out LIED about a dog’s behavior warranting being put down.

    Why were they second guessing one of their tippy top super duper managers if they didn’t feel something warranted investigating?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that her actions are finally being questioned. Just pointing out that, she wouldn’t be on suspension if there had been “no reason” to question the behavior/euthanasia rates etc.

    • Cowardly Lion on May 16, 2010 at 7:42 pm

      I know her tactics have been questioned but I think her little “vacation” was for her style of management….for berating and being hostile toward a fellow employee in front of others. Witnesses are a bad thing when you talk about berating people.

    • Gioia on May 16, 2010 at 8:34 pm

      Could this certain behaviorist be the one and only Joanne L? (She may go by a different last name now–not sure.) Anyway, if it is she who has been suspended it’s about flipping time. Her decisions to euthanize (or not) certain animals should have always been called into question. Some years ago, as I recall, she would be mum on the prospect of certain dogs that were targeted for euthanasia, but only until someone she liked on one of the teams (adoption, incoming, medical) displayed a particular affection for the animal. Then suddenly it would seem her senses and sensibilities were awakened, and she’d go behind the backs of the team leaders at the time (to Richard) to try to persuade him to overrule the determinations made. She was a trainer then, not an individual with the undeserved authority she seems to have today. She would tell Richard that the people making these decisions were retaliating against an employee merely because, in her words, “this was a thinking individual”.

      These were untrue, pompous, arrogant and trouble-making remarks. It should also be noted that Richard would either side with her (or not) dependent only upon his relationship at the time with any one of the staff members she tried to call into question. It mattered not that she was talking out of her rear end. And by the way, Richard, if you’re reading this, you might be interested in knowing that JL had some choice things to say about you behind your back. To your face she could schmooze you to death, but even as paranoid as you were about what people might be saying about you, you never quite picked up on the fact that this one was regularly throwing you under the bus, and I mean big time. The lawyer in you would be spelling “slander”.

      • greyhound lover on May 16, 2010 at 10:29 pm

        It’s true; Joanne is loyal to no one. I saw her throw her beloved pets the team leaders under a bus a million times!!!
        These were her cronies too. She would bash RJ and then practically kiss his butt when he was around. She would make fun of Janice constantly and then kiss up to her so Janice would do her work for her…

      • Darkside on May 17, 2010 at 1:18 pm

        Ditto…all the way!!

        • Gioia on May 17, 2010 at 6:42 pm

          Yes, JL is very astute at maligning people. She hasn’t the guts to say to one’s face the garbage she spews when the maligned individual is out of hearing range. The reason she has gotten as far as she has is not because of ability or skill, but simply because she happens to be articulate. She can convey her thoughts very eloquently and precisely; whether or not what she says is the truth. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for RJ (with that enormous ego of his) or the board to buy into her tripe. She is (up to now anyway) taken at her word because she sounds believable.

          A word to the wise, current assistant managers: you have been her targets. As articulate as she is, it appears she continues to make the mistake of repeating her denouncements to too many people. Some of that venom is bound to leak.

          BOD’s: You have an obligation and an opportunity to review your “leaders” at this time. Do the honorable thing and rid the CHS of some of these individuals. You are not trying hard enough and that is a key reason why you are neither trusted nor liked. Watch them in action (unannounced). Insist on reviewing their credentials and their performance on a regular basis. Set up a review system where the kennel workers (at all levels) are allowed to critique their supervisors. This should be done at a minimum of twice a year. And take seriously what the subordinates have to say, even if their verbal or writing skills aren’t as good as yours, and even if they can’t articulate the way JL can.

          When supervisors and managers know that they are being judged by their subordinates, and that their opinions, if valid, will actually carry some weight, you will see a difference in attitude and relationships. Also, insist that your top-heavy management team participates in the every day mundane, yet crucial, activities (feeding, cleaning, walking, medicating, socializing etc.). There once was a time when there were only kennel supervisors or team leaders (no asst managers and managers), who supervised their respective teams, and guess what? These individuals actually got down and dirty with their team members because the work had to be done and because it was the right thing to do. Even if you have adequate numbers in overall employees now, you still don’t have the work being disbursed evenly. Make all of the managers get their hands dirty once in a while, and the aforementioned issue will go away. And it wouldn’t kill you BOD’s to get in the trenches as well now and again. You have benefited greatly during the reign of Richard, so now give something back in return.

      • Della on May 17, 2010 at 11:40 pm

        Don’t you arrogant bunch have anything better to do then gossip around the water cooler, all this crap sounds like personal vendettas against employees whom are dedicated, having to make heartbreaking decisions every single day they go to work. I believe your time would be better spent taking some action against our Governor or state agencies that make decisions based on budget restraints, closing cedercrest, for example, and allowing unstable and dangerous patients to roam are streets. DCF for example is allowing children to die at the hands of there own employees. get a clue people, read the paper sometime, and get your noses out of the dog poop.

        • Volunteer on May 18, 2010 at 1:21 pm

          This is a group of people concerned about animal welfare. Based on your comments it is apparent you have not been following the slew of articles and news reports about this..it goes far beyond “water cooler gossip”. If you don’t like the cause which we all stand for and support, it’s as simple as not supporting it. People can choose to dedicate their time and energy to whatever cause they want and it’s usually the people that don’t do a thing for ANY cause that are the first to judge others on where their passion lies.

        • Anita on May 18, 2010 at 1:46 pm

          Who are you fooling Ray? Janice? I could name a couple more. Read all the comments from other individuals on this page…and again:
          OSHA, Atty Gen, NLRB, rescues, donors, volunteers, employees, the media, anyone with any sense in the world for that matter and they will tell you the BOD and all you terrible managers are full of dog poop.

        • Darkside on May 18, 2010 at 5:10 pm

          If you have knowledge in the area you wish to comment then do so. If you are ignorant then comment somewhere else. You’re clueless and not the forum for you.

          • Darkside on May 18, 2010 at 5:15 pm

            My comments are referring to Della. Come back again when you have experienced working at CHS and have been enlightened to what so many are saying about CHS.

        • Gioia on May 18, 2010 at 8:05 pm

          Della: Your remarks are ignorant at best. First, go back to school and get some remedial training in basic 3rd grade reading and writing. Then, perhaps, some of your arguments might be taken more seriously.

          Secondly, you can support your causes; we’ll support ours. Only an uninformed (or brainwashed) loser would categorize the comments you don’t particularly care for as water cooler gossip. And don’t try to politicize the rest of us with your bs. If you have such problems with the curent state of local government affairs, then you could help your own causes by contributing more of your income to support them in the form of taxes.

          But then again, that would assume you have income to contribute. A loser like you is most likely on the dole….a welfare recipient who has no qualms about having the rest of society support you and your ilk. As for me and mine, we’d rather support animal causes, but the government machine that takes care of you says I have to support you as well. Maybe someday that will all change.

  6. OMD on May 16, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Enough is Enought MR WHITE WTF…..As a proud volunteer of both CHS and the Coalition for the Change you are lying out your butt… You couldnt even attend the Town Hall meeting with the Volunteers last Saturday because you had been in Chicago and came back on too late of a flight! As far as I am concerned that showed your true dedication right there. Showing the volunteers just how much they mean to you. If the people on the BOD really Cared they would have all been there! Step down Richard JR….

    • OMD on May 16, 2010 at 5:20 pm

      By the way Mr White you and Mr Basear should get your facts straight before you speak! Mr. Basear claims that none of the five employees have been spoken to. As for the Union being the once at fault for securing the Unionization, I think you need to wake up and smell the liters boxes! We know that infact the BOD was responsible. I think it was because it had something to do with a gag order?!?!?!?!?! By the two fired employees. I would like to know when you met with the Coalition because I wasn’t invited!

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on May 16, 2010 at 7:37 pm

      It’s the same ol same ol when it comes to Town Hall Meetings…the last one before I resigned as a volunteer was led by Melissa. The purpose of a town hall meeting is to be able to have a question and answer period with some type of officer or management in general. Poor Melissa was left to tackle about 30 volunteer’s and their questions and demand for answers. Not only was Johnston not present for this meeting but neither were ANY of his minions. Where were these hot shot managers when us volunteers had questions? HIding is where they were, hiding behind Melissa….

  7. OMD on May 16, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    George thank you once again to keeping the attention where it needs to be!

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on May 16, 2010 at 7:32 pm

      Sure does make you wonder how this could have gone on for so long, but now that it keeps coming out….ain’t no stoppin it now….so brace yourselves CHS, your in for a bumpy ride!!!

  8. Arf Arf on May 17, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Sounds like the CT Humane Society needs a good kennel cleaning.

  9. Ivona on May 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Chris White is truly pathetic, childish, and only cares about himself. Not the animals. He needs to do himself and the CHS a favor and step down, just leave all together. Allow someone who is actually qualified and CARES about animals handle such an important position. NOT CHRIS WHITE! He only cares about making up tall tales to concerned donors! Thank you Coalition for all of your hard work!!

    • Bridget K on May 17, 2010 at 7:18 pm

      The lies that Chris White makes up are outright. It’s amazing that he would even attempt to lie, knowing full well that Coalition members are donors, the general public, rescue workers, employees, volunteers, etc. Everything he says and does gets exposed, as do all the lies and corruption that management is currently cooking up at CHS.
      These people are in for a real surprise…
      What Chris and the rest of his cronies don’t seem to get, is that everyone is watching. They just keep on giving us more reasons to demand their removal.

      • Lindsay on May 17, 2010 at 9:36 pm

        I love that even though he owns a publishing company and should know better that what goes into writing is hard evidence, he STILL continues to fire out email after email under his name! And it would be one thing if his emails were very non-descript, you know, don’t answer questions directly just thank the people and reassure them, then it wouldn’t be such a big deal. (Hmmm, kind of like the emails Alicia always sent out on dick’s behalf…) But he makes all these outlandish claims and statements I can’t wait to see it bite him in the ass!

  10. Time to be A Real No Kill Org. on May 17, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    The board’s position on tolerating subjective decisions for euthanasia is ridiculous. The Board needs to adopt a real euthanasia policy (that should be made available to the public) and that which the staff should follow. Many dogs (and cats) have their lives hanging in the balance right now due to this immoral system of warrantless and subjective killing. Keep your eye on these dogs: BRADY & WRIGLEY in Newington. SKIP in Westport, and SPARKY in Waterford. These are ADOPTABLE dogs whose lives are at risk because CHS will not dedicate the proper resources to them. Further, the Board does not have the moral conviction (or expertise) to establish a progressive no-kill euthanasia policy.

    • Anita on May 17, 2010 at 7:10 pm

      Hopefully these creatures don’t end up like Zeek, Max, Q Tip, Layla, Tina, Chinook…the list goes on and on…

      • Mayor Of Dogtown on May 17, 2010 at 9:05 pm

        I will never forget Layla and Chinook…Those were two of my favorites. Both were killed for mistakes made by “the system”.
        Layla was killed because of a bad situation when a mistake was made by volunteer’s who let two dogs get too close to each other. Many times, volunteer’s are told not to let dog’s get close to one another, it alsways ends ugly….this was one of them. Chinook was just a travesty of a story and if there was any way I could have taken that dog home, I would have. he was such a great project…an overactive puppy who just needed the stability of a normal home with someone who would spend time with him.

    • Lindsay on May 17, 2010 at 9:59 pm

      While I agree that the fewer we can euthanize, the better, I highly advise against a straight forward no-kill. Consider it a slow, torturous death. Animals waiting in cages, the occasssional walk or visit…similar to the current situation but dragged out not only over weeks or months, but years. Some of these animals will DIE in shelters having never experienced a home. How is that a happy ending? While there are people out there capable of caring for and working and living with these animals, the general public doesn’t fall into this category. They haven’t the time or desire to properly train a well-behaved pet never mind one with baggage. I train dogs for a living, I know. I advocate spay/neuter, am opposed to pet shop puppies in hopes that less sales will lead to shut down of puppy mills and back yard breeders. I strongly encourage people to research breeds to find the right match and to look for reputable breeders. And no, being AKC registered isn’t a garanteed great quality dog – any purebred can be AKC regardlesss of the morals of the breeder responsible for the litter. But inevitable there are a few that fall through the cracks.

      People have breed misconceptions because too many inappropriate homes have allowed these issues to come forward and tag certain breeds. I strongly advise euthanasia for dogs with a bite history. BUT – you need to understand that my definittion of a bite is very clear. Puppy or inappropriate mouthing is not a bite. Nor is the dog in pain or being tourtured or teased by some obnoxoius kid. A bite needs to be clearly vicious and with very little or no provocation. These behavior evaluations should all be recorded so that if an instance occurs there is video to be reviewed to determine cause. Then there is no “oh I saw him give a funny look” because everyone watching the video would be educated in canine body language and know which trigger signlas to look for. And the area of fear aggression needs to be treaded on lightly, because a fearfully aggressive dog in most cases is much more dangerous than an outwardly dominant aggressive dog. They don’t always give warning and they may have unknown triggers that make them walking time bombs if let into society.

      Low kill is a much more attainable goal and once the world is born knowing animal behavior and parents pass good pet ownership skills down to their kids there will no longer be a need for rescues, and isn’t THAT the ultimate goal?

  11. JayJay on May 17, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    As one of the Fab fired five I know no one has contacted me to get my side of the story. It makes me sad to hear what is still going on at CHS. It really is like a bad daytime soap. The lies the back stabbing the killing maybe CBS or ABC will call to option it soon.

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on May 17, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      Is there a made for TV movie coming? Maybe Jaclyn Smith is available, she’s big on those made for TV movies….she’s usually a woman done wrong, so she can be any of the four women who were terminated. I’m sure we could get some of us to be walk-ons….

    • Lindsay on May 17, 2010 at 10:00 pm

      reality tv perhaps, the backstabbing makes it a perfect candidate!

  12. sad rescuer on May 17, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    The Society must hire a fantastic Executive Director. But has anyone noticed that the job description does not require experience in animal welfare? (It’s only desired) Inexplicably, CHS’s Fox Memorial Clinic has gotten a free pass. Fox must be the next battleground. The IRS granted it tax-deductible, charitable status based on its mission to provide veterinary services to those in financial need. But Fox charges the wealthy the same as the poor, charges much more than Ct’s other low-cost clinicsand some kindly, private vets, and is practically inaccessible anyway. Many of us volunteer rescuers have learned not to even bother to suggest to the poor that they contact Fox. Most are compassionate people who have taken in needy strays and want to get them the veterinary care and sterilization they need. We rescuers are used to paying most of the bills for our ongoing rescue and placement, but sometimes we need help, too. We learned not to bother to ask Fox for any help. This is a travesty.

    • Joan H on May 17, 2010 at 7:21 pm

      Fox is a complete sham, just as much as CHS is. They turn bleeding, dying, sick animals away…it is a horrible place, run by a backstabbing cruel Richard follower, yup another Joann.

      • Mayor Of Dogtown on May 17, 2010 at 9:01 pm

        What happened to the FOX that was supposed to be low cost vet care for the low income people. That was it’s intent???? How did this happen?

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on May 17, 2010 at 8:39 pm

      Your so right, they absolutely DO need to hire someone who will be willing to take on this mess of an organization, clean house and not be afraid to change what is obviously wrong in the system.

      They need to shut down for a few weeks….let the animal care staff take care of the animals and clean house. Start fresh, clean slate. Get the right people in the right positions. Get manager’s and supervisors who know how to treat people and animals at the same time, not just when it’s convenient. Let’s face it, these people don’t make a ton of money, the least you can do is treat them with respect. I doubt any of the five terminated folks would say they were treated fairly.

  13. Die Die on May 17, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    So much is wrong with Chris White’s email to this doner. The whole euthanasia issue is still a confused, subjective and morally offensive situation. The biggest problem is that CHS does not have the right people in the positions of power, whether it is on the new Killing Committee, District Managers, Public Relations, CFO, etc.etc. To be specific, let’s just look at the ‘animal behaviorist’, Joanne Lincoln. This woman is NOT an animal behaviorist!!! She is a dog tainer. I don’t even think she has a Bachelor’s in Animal Science/Pathology or any related field. To refer to her as the “animal behaviorist” shows how little the BOD understands about these positions/disciplines/ and the academic study and internship needed to fully earn this title. This is appalling. Let’s take Karyn Cordner, the new shelter manager in Newington. She may have been a vet tech at one time and then went to work in a bank I believe? but she is a former board member that Richard hand picked right before he went down. Also, she does not have the moral and ethical fortitude to stand up to Kitty, Alicia, Janice, Ray, the 2 Joannes, etc. She also has not kept up with all of the recent trends and research regarding shelter management. I do not want to embaress her here but she did not even know what very frequently used terms meant. Kitty is running the lower level with her side-kick Marissa learning all about how to be a real bad manager.

    The BOD does not want to be involved with the day to day operations of the shelter however they have left inhumane, unprofessional, incompetent, unqualified people in charge. They do not know how to manage people or run a high qualty HUMANE shelter for animals. So much about CHS is antiquated and phony. And this is not just the opinion of one, or a few former workers. It’s a whole bunch of people and more and more keep joining the fight.

    This is a travesty. The BOD did nothing for 20 years. They have now grandfathered themselves in so they can remain for another 5 years. This is inexcusable!!!! How can this be allowed???

    • Anita on May 17, 2010 at 7:29 pm

      I love you whoever you are Die Die.
      Richard hired these incompetent people to run the shelter because they would do anything he said and would never question him. These are the people who are still in charge.
      Karyn Cordner has no idea what she is doing, she is probably the most unqualified District Manager CHS has ever seen. she is a former Board member, who was just as clueless and fake then as she is now.
      The CFO, that all the other cronies at CHS laugh about behind his back. Is utterly unqualified, allowed Richard to get away with everything, and has NO animal background at all! He even surrendered his own cat because he didn’t,t know how to handle behavioral challenges.
      This is the new president of CHS!
      Clear this place out it’s a circus. And the ones who suffer are the animals and dedicated staff!

      • Now a former volunteer on May 17, 2010 at 9:00 pm

        When Karyn first started, I thought, wow I feel change in the air. But very quickly, it was evident that instead of her being the SHelter manager, she was Kitty’s puppet. She let’s Kitty run the place, yet karyn collects her paycheck. She tells the same lies as everyone else, she didn’t give any of the fired staff members a fighting chance. The very least you can do as a NEW manager is to get all sides of the story. Just because your manager’s tell you whats what does not mean it is the truth. Sadly, she has fallen into that misconception and the BOD is under the same dilusional thinking…

      • Rescue in CT 4 cats on May 18, 2010 at 7:54 am

        I’m so glad this place is finally getting cleaned out. All of us have know about Johnston and his terrible managers for years. But he used HS money to sue any of us little guys that spoke up. Animal control and rescues all over the state are cheering bring the evil empire down!
        We can’t wait for the AG’s next move.

    • Cowardly Lion on May 17, 2010 at 8:54 pm

      So this “head behaviorist” has no formal training as such? Does the board know this? I know you don’t NEED an education in areas to be good at it, but it sure does help your credibility. There is a vast difference in a dog trainer and a behaviorist. I’d task the BOD to seek out qualifications. Ask her where she studied…furthermore since I’ve been following these stories….didn’t the prior person in this position, “learn” from her so that means you had two uncertified people making life and death decisions for pets in their care? I think I’m going to be sick!!!!

  14. Now a former volunteer on May 17, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    I must weigh in on the Euthanasia issue. Here is what I do not understand about CHS.

    You are a shelter. You are not going to get all perfect dogs. Your going to get ones who have or will have behavior issues. If they were the perfect dogs, perhaps they would not be surrrendered. While there are some really great dogs that DO get surrendered….wether it be because of a financial burden or a loss of home or job or whatever. The problem is that those dogs never get seen by the general public because Kitty “saves” them for the people she has who are “looking for that type of dog”. Her heads up tactics are frustrating because she gets to determine way ahead of time who gets the “perfect” dogs. Not only that but recently incoming was told to “just take in the highly adoptable ones”. What is that? Your a shelter for God’s sake. What about your mission statement? What about those not so perfect dogs, where do they go? Oh yeah, some poor ( and I mean that literally) rescue group will end up taking them into their own homes on their own dime because the leader in Animal Shelter’s for the state of CT doesn’t want to house these animals because they know they will end up putting them down.

    Too many dogs and cats never made it out of that place alive and they really could have. Rest in peace Monica, Harry, Tyson, Gladys, Sasha, Chinook, Qtip, Gabe, Big Red, Tina and Layla. We wish we could have fought harder for you, we miss you and you certainly deserved better.

    • Lindsay on May 17, 2010 at 10:18 pm

      A true behaviorist would have NEVER euthanized a 9 month old puppy because someone in the foster home climbed into the crate and cornered the already scared pup leaving her no choice but to fight for her life. Or the cattle dog who just needed a farm and a job herding cattle as an only dog because he was just too rough with other dogs (a trait very common in some fo the more driven herding breeds).

      • CathyO on May 19, 2010 at 9:49 am

        Lindsay, A true behaviorist would not work for the salary one would make at a nonprofit shelter. A true behaviorst works with owners to manage and correct behavior problems. A shelter behavior consultant works within organizational guidelines to make responsible decisions to re-home dogs that can be helped with the resources available and prevent dangerous dogs from being put back into society. Some of the best shelter behavior experts in the country do not have degrees in behavior such as Trisha King, Susan Sternberg and Sarah kalnjas. On the flip side many people who do have degress in animal science, husbandry, and behavior lack the experience and intuition to work in a shelter enviroment. This is just background informatioin not meant to cause controversy.

        • Lindsay on May 21, 2010 at 9:20 am

          it’s not necessarily true that they wouldn’t work for the salary at a non-profit bc often those positions are quite well paid. i agree you don’t need to be an applied behaviorist to do that job but you also can’t be biased about breeds.

  15. Walter on May 17, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    I can’t believe what I’m reading. The humane society needs new management. This is terrible.

    • Robert Candito on June 7, 2010 at 7:40 am

      Well Walter, Perhaps you never heard the saying..”Believe none of what you heare and only half of what you read…”
      And by the way, all this venom spewed about the Ct. Humane Society is not only false, but evil. Obviously these negativity spewers have never heard of Karma.

  16. Tonya T on May 17, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    I heard rumours about that place for years, glad to know it’s finally exposed.

  17. Cathy DeMarco on May 17, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    The BOD should be ashamed of themselves for fighting the union like this- and blaming it on the first 2 fired employees!!! There was no true attempt at settling- that is without a number of restrictions that the workers (Bridget and Maureen) had to agree to. Their civil rights had already been violated and the BOD wanted them to concede to even more nonsense. It was at this point in the negotiations that the first two terminated workers, with the support of most of their co-workers, said enough is enough. These 2 workers were fired solely for supporting the effort to organize, a legal right to those of us working in the USA. They had excellent reviews and work history. They were respected by their co-workers and their terminations were shocking 7 days before Christmas! What a wonderful holiday CHS provided for them. Did anyone from the board look into this? Did anyone from the board demand an immediate and full investigation? of course not. Instead, the first adoption counselor was fired for a ridiculous reason 3 days later, 4 days before Christmas. By now, the BOD is getting involved, right? WRONG! Remember, these 3 firings took place 2 weeks after the union was voted in…..

    OK, so we get through January and on Feb. 5th, the 2nd adoption counselor was fired. Chris White was immediately informed of this. On Feb. 6th, the 3rd adoption conselour was fired. Again, Chris White informed of it immediately. Oh yes, like Ron, Amanda and Lynn were terminated for false and shameful reasons. Now the BOD will finally look into what the heck is going on, right? NO, of course not. Let the expensive attorneys from Shipman and Goodwin use tens of thousands of donated dollars to fight the certification of the union and the re-instatement/settlement of all 5 workers.

    I am pretty sure that this is not how the organization can fulfill it’s charitable mission, by ignoring what the employees voted into effect and then terminating those who were believed to be supporters of the union. Oh yes, and also allowing the managers to write up employees for petty, ridiculous things like not making enough eye contact and not smiling enough (would you if you worked here?) and putting people on probation with a score of 2 (out of 4-5 I think) as the ultimate humiliation and proof that the workers are not good employees (even though most, if not all, had received good to excellent reviews PRIOR to the successful union election.

    This is simply NOT A RESPECTABLE WAY to run this historic and admirable organization. It is a HUMANE SOCIETY for goodness sake. Let’s get on with the original and compassionate goals that the founder, Gertrude Lewis had envisioned nearly 130 years ago.

    • Bridget K on May 18, 2010 at 7:47 am

      I see another article in the works
      yes, Cathy, you are 100% dead on as usual. You made sure the BOD and Chris White were informed of every termination, every corrupt issue, and any harrassment that was occurring at CHS. He never listened to you, REFUSED to speak with us, treated you horribly, and even when staffing levels were so dangerously low the organization should have been shut down due to neglect and dangerous working conditions, he could have cared less.
      He is a liar, a selfish and rude person who does not care about the animals or the organization at all. The only thing this man cares about is his image and his cheesy Hartford magazine sales.

    • Robert Candito on June 7, 2010 at 7:51 am

      Ok Cathy, All this empty venom from you, makes me think, hmmm, what she hiding?

      You’re just another loud mouth loser. What is true, is the saying “empty barrels make the most noise.”

  18. John Kelly on May 18, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Keep on hitting them outa te oark, George

    Your site and publication should perhaps be titled “The Hartford Current, pun
    intended, It is current, refreshing, informative, enjoyable, reliable and professional and for those of us who care it is unique and accomplished..

  19. Mer on May 18, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Just a quick comment on Karyn – I too was disappointed when it became evident she drank the Management Kool-Aid. However, that was months ago. Since then, her eyes have opened somewhat.. She seeks opinions from staff, asks what’s wrong, how it can be improved. She THANKS people. I don’t think she is a saint, at all, but I think she is slowly realizing that someone fed her a lot of bull when she started, and buying into those stories cost her her crediblity and any chance of a good relationship with staff.

    I feel badly for that she was hired to clean up after RJs frat party and fed a load of lies in the process. It almost looks like a systematic choice to ensure continued discordance between staff and management. I just can’t imagine who would most benefit from ensuring the staff is undermined and discounted….who is it whose job security is most dependent on keeping the staff, managers and board at eachother’s throats? Who gets all the credit for running the show and fixing all the “problems” she herself created, exacerbated and then blamed on the staff??

    Giving Karyn a fighting chance, encouraging her to see past what she was told by a certain manipulative manager, may be the best bet for getting some actual change at CHS.

    • Catwoman on May 18, 2010 at 2:59 pm

      Sorry, anyone who takes months to wise up and see what’s really going at CHS shows incredibly poor judgement, and that’s definitely not what the organization needs. Many others have been in her place in the past and refused to do things like firing people under pressure. If she had any integrity, she could have done the same.

    • Now a former volunteer on May 18, 2010 at 6:08 pm

      I too was high on Karyn when she started but she kept making very bad choices which led to her total loss of credibility. I wish things were different but you can’t go back and erase the past. Sure you can learn from it but when you have such discord between the staff and manager’s, it really is a hostile work environment.

      You would think that the goal fo the organization or ANY organization is that everyone works together to accomplish your goals. It’s not that way at CHS. Animal care giver’s are berated, treated like peasants and often ridiculed in front of people including in front of volunteers.

      In order to “fix” these issues, what Karyn should have done is observed a lot and not be swept up under Kitty’s Comforting Arm. She should have listened to all sides of EVERY situation including those situations with the fired employees. She didn’t even get their sides of the story before siding with Kitty and her managers. Sure you need to trust your manager’s but that trust is not GIVEN it is earned. So to just go by what they say is ridiculous. Firing tenured employee’s for sudden behavior instances is crazy. 6-9 Months ago these people had great reviews. They all went sour in a hurry I guess, something in the water. Or something in the Union is more like it. For the last one (Lynn) to be fired from home over the phone is also a very cowardly act.

      SO Mer, while I respect your opinion, and welcome all opinions which promotes a great debate, I’d say she was given the opportunity to do right and failed miserably so to go back and start anew is a hard pill to swallow.

      and by the way…..I love the Kool Aid comment….

      • Mer on May 19, 2010 at 12:45 pm

        I hear what you all are saying, truly. And as I said, Karyn tossed her initial credibility out the window when joined forces with The Others in Management.

        However, she’s been there now long enough to see what is actually going on (rather than reading reports and falsified personnel files) and I stand firm on my belief that she DOES see what is going on.

        I don’t see how it benefits anyone for the staff or the Coalition to find wrong, wrong, wrong, with everything, when there is one person who appears to have, albeit groggily, woken up. She has a lot of mistakes to undo, sure. But, unlike others in power there, I think she wants to undo them. However, if she’s still an Evil Manager, no matter what she tries, who she questions, what changes she makes etc, she’s not going to believe the staff (or anyone else) has legit concerns.

        Look, I couldn’t care less who she is as a person. All I know is that from a strategy perspective she’s shown a willingness to change, and that should make her valuable to the staff/Coalition. Don’t toss the baby out with the bath water, ya know?

        • Mer on May 19, 2010 at 12:52 pm

          Edit to add – I’m not accusing the staff or the Coalition of being hyper critical. Merely trying to convey the message that as far as strategy goes finding an olive branch somewhere would go a long way – and I think Karyn is likely the best candidate for that olive branch.

          Conversely, keeping the staff distrustful and maligned toward management and the reverse for management toward the staff only, and mean only, benefits one person. I know we aren’t supposed to name names here, but I think you know who I mean. It’s her MO. She’s been at it for 20 years there. Keep everyone mad at/distrustful of everyone else, and she reaps the rewards.

          Letting her get away with such obvious manipulation needs to stop, but it cannot stop unilaterally. The staff and at least one manager need to come together to end it.

          • Karma on May 19, 2010 at 7:38 pm

            Proceed with caution is all I have to say. I trusted her completely. I extended the olive branch only to have it hit me over the head. She’s all smiles & assures you everything is okay. Very disappointed in you Karyn and sad to say I would never trust you ever again.

          • Now a former volunteer on May 19, 2010 at 9:08 pm

            I’m with you Mer….but until we see some results….it all remains to be seen.

            I hope she’s waking up and smelling the java, I still have my doubts though.

            1) She allegedly told volunteers at the town hall meeting that the Attorney General has ceased it’s investigation and all of those allegations have been settled.
            2) She’s told the staff that she has to trust her managers when it comes to discipline and matters at the shelter. Don’t the staff members side of the story get to be told? Why is it that you can trust your managers but you can’t even talk with your team?

            If Karyn has turned a leaf…I would be the FIRST to welcome the new change and be rooting her on because when she started like I said before, I thought THIS was gonng be the change that needed to happen. Here’s hoping….

        • Mayor Of Dogtown on May 19, 2010 at 11:14 pm

          Well for me, Mer….I will believe it when I see it. I still remember when all the turmoil was going on with the terminations and the Union activity….and Lynn was told by Kayn that while her performance appraisal was not good, “we” were going to put that behind us and move forward, then proceeded to call her up at home to fire her!!!! You can’t blame us for being skeptical. Karyn, show us you’ve got the guts to make some changes. We’re ready to give you your props…but they have to be earned, props are not given out randomly.

  20. Half Life on May 19, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    A couple of years ago I wrote a Letter to the Editor contradicting with facts a Life Publication editorial. Along with my letter the next month they ran a five page article contradicting statements in my letter. I requested they publish another letter to address the errors in the five page article, since it indirectly reflected on me…after three emails they finally acknowledged my letter, but then apparently stopped printing any letters for at least a few issues. Recently they touted in an anniversary issue that they only take the positive view.

    • last straw on May 19, 2010 at 9:48 pm

      Think you have the wrong column you’re responding to.

  21. Been there done that on May 21, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Wow so the B.O.D. met with the 5 terminated employees. Well I’m one of the 5 and have never been contacted by anyone. I guess I must have been out to lunch with the other 4 when my invite came. Or it got lost in the mail. Lies, Lies,and more Lies. What is Chris in a competition with R.J. to see who can tell the most lies in the shortest time. The day I got fired I wasn,t even allowed to speak. I was just handed the obligatory cardboard box and was told to clean out my locker while R.J. the coward hid in his office. Great P.R.

    • enough is enough on May 21, 2010 at 9:39 pm

      I’m sure Waterford is thrilled, they are finally moving ahead with the new shelter. I’m happy that there will be more space for the animals. I’m sure they are relieved that this is finally happening, because Richard threatened them constantly if he wasn’t satisfied with thier performance and adoption numbers he would not give the okay to move forward. He even told them that if they had any part in the union that they could kiss thier dreams of a new shelter goodbye. Hopefully they will think twice about the union now that they are getting what they wanted:)

      • Mayor Of Dogtown on May 23, 2010 at 11:56 am

        Yeah but you can’t compare the two or the three shelters for that matter. Newington had to deal with Richard’s wrath on a daily basis, the other shelters didn’t see him much at all in comparison.
        It’s GREAT that a new shelter is coming down the road….As for the Union, remember, they would not have needed to seek out a union had they been treated well. Do you really think that people making 9 dollars an hour want to have union dues taken out of their paycheck if they felt they were being treated well?

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on May 23, 2010 at 11:58 am

      In most companies, when your brought in for a termination or even a suspicious event….your side of the story is THE MOST important. This is how backwards CHS is. Most organizations don’t want to jump the gun or break any laws or even violate your rights….CHS just goes with what THEY feel the case is and acts accordingly. I can’t wait to see how this all pans out with the NLRB…..

  22. Mer on May 24, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    And re: the terminated employees…The Board needs to take a good, long look at the people they believe were properly terminated and are now “retaliating”….People don’t go to the media and join protest organizations b/c of a ten dollar an hour job. Most of the people fired were grossly underpaid for their skill set, education and experience, and could easily find another job of equal pay, even this in “this economy.” The people they fired worked there because they thought they were contributing to something good and more importantly, didn’t quit when they saw how things really are. They stayed, to be abused, unappreciated, tormented, humiliated etc., b/c they knew if they quit the animals would have one less advocate.

    These are the people you refuse to put your trust in, BOD. The people who willfully chose, against better more lucrative and easier options, to stay in your employ, because they felt a moral imperative to do so.

    Instead, you put your trust in the “managers” the least formally educated or experienced (prior to CHS) people on staff. The people whose brash ignorance of the law and lack of common good sense caused a union organization and OSHA investigation. The people who have been caught lying about an animals temperment or adoptablity for personal gain or worse, simpy out of bigoted motivations that those were “the wrong KIND of people” to adopt a shiny pure bred puppy/pitbull etc.

    Seriously, BOD, how little do you think of your staff that you think they would go to all this effort merely to keep/protect a 10 dollar an hour, abusive, sickening (physically and emotionally) job?

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