Ct Humane Society President Under Fire From Dismissed Workers Who Tried to Unionize

January 5, 2010
By

Copyright © 2010, CtWatchdog.com

Two recently fired workers from the Connecticut Humane Society – a multimillion-dollar-a-year charity – are accusing its longtime president of unethical and improper behavior.

In written statements given to me by the two former workers – one a financial assistant, the other a manager – they accuse Richard Johnston of having his personal expenses paid for by the Newington-based charity as well as requiring paid staff to baby-sit his daughter when they were supposed to be working at the center.  There is also an accusation that one board member has a conflict of interest in an ongoing project.

The two have given me permission to forward their complaints to state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal with the hope that he would order an investigation into the operations of the Society. I have forwarded the complaints to Blumenthal’s office.

Johnston, who has been president of the Humane Society for about 20 years, did not respond to requests for comment. He is a lawyer and a former state senator.

A Society spokeswoman declined to comment on any of the specific claims that have been made – including that a larger percentage of animals are euthanized than what is made public.

Instead, spokeswoman Alicia Wright blamed the allegations on an attempt to unionize the Society’s four centers and threatened libel action against anyone who made these claims or published them. Her complete statement is at the bottom of this column. The statement refers to one unsigned letter but Wright said the statement also covers the additional written allegations made by the former employees.

“You should know that there is currently an ongoing effort to unionize some of the staff at the Connecticut Humane Society,” Wright wrote me. “It is not unusual in this context, for unfounded allegations to be made to foster negativity towards management and for efforts to be made to share these statements with the community at large. The union issue is being addressed by the Society and handled through the appropriate channel, the National Labor Relations Board.”

The main accusations against Johnston and the management of the Humane Society are being made by Bridget Karchere, who was a finance assistant and had intimate knowledge of the Society’s bookkeeping, and Maureen Lord, who worked at the Society more than eight years, including four as Johnston’s personal assistant.

Karchere of Plainville and Lord of Hartford were both fired on Dec. 18. A third employee, a male, was also fired last month. Karchere, Lord and others connected to the Society allege that the three firings were in retaliation for their union activities.

After conducting numerous secret meetings, the staff of the Society petitioned to be represented by the Machinists Union – the same group that represents many United Technologies workers. By a vote of 18-15 the backers of the union won. However, the Society is contesting the election.

The pro-union members claim to have support from about 20 of the workers, with some afraid of speaking out publicly. They have set up an organization called The Coalition for Positive Change and are contacting former workers to join their battle. They insist that their efforts are aimed at improving the lives of workers as well as the 8,000 animals its shelters handle each year, not for wage increases. They claim that Johnston and some of his managers act in tyrannical fashion, finding ways to punish anyone who disagrees with them.

“This organization boasts to donors and the general public that it is a low kill shelter, that .85 cents of every dollar is spent on the animals. They also claim that their mission is to treat humans humanely as well. All of these statements are false; I will attest to this,” Karchere, the staff accountant, wrote me.

“First I will start off by saying that the number of former disgruntled employees of the humane society is almost innumerable. And, these employees are not disgruntled because they abused their jobs, didn’t follow the company’s mission statement, or treated the animals poorly and lost their jobs; rather they are disgruntled, damaged, and disgusted by how they were treated and what they were exposed to while working at the humane society. And, these former employees consist of Public Relation Directors, District Managers, Animal Care workers, Humane Educators, Chief Financial Officers, Administrative staff…the list goes on and on…it’s quite mind boggling.”

While the Society states in its reports that Johnston’s compensation from the Society is $57,366 a year, Karchere said it is much higher when one includes all of his personal expenses that are paid by the nonprofit firm.

She claims that the Humane Society pays for Johnston’s magazine and newspaper subscriptions, real estate and attorney license fees, parking tickets, gasoline for nonbusiness travel, and undocumented charges for liquor and gifts.

She also claims that some items are mischaracterized as being used to care for the animals to falsely improve its rating as a charity.

“Euthanasia numbers, on a study of the Newington Branch, show a significant increase due to the short staffing and lack of appropriate management from 2008 vs. 2009,” she wrote me.

Lord also claims that Johnston uses his company vehicle for personal use, including driving back and forth from Newington to Avon where his daughter goes to school. She claims that Johnston is the only employee not required to keep a log of his travels.

“For my entire 8 1/2 years at the Humane Society, Richard Johnston has used the society as his personal day care agency,” Lord wrote me. “When I first started at the Humane Society, I was the Assistant to the President and his daughter was pre-school aged. She came with him to the office most days and disrupted the work of many employees, who were expected to entertain her.”

“I was instructed on several occasions to take (her) outside for play/entertainment reasons. When I questioned whether I should do that since I had other work to perform for the company, Mr. Johnston implied that I didn’t have anything else to do that was more important than taking (her) outside.”

She claims that Johnston even violates the leash rules at the Society with his two dogs.

Lord said it a “potentially very dangerous situations with cars in the parking lot as well as other dogs that are being walked on the property. One would think he would have more concern for the safety of his own dogs, as well as the dogs residing in the shelter or belonging to clients. The shelter sometimes houses dogs that are aggressive and when an unrestrained dog approaches one of these dogs while being walked it is very dangerous for both dogs as well as the animal care worker who is restraining the aggressive dog.”

The following is the response from the Humane Society

Dear Mr. Gombossy:

The Connecticut Humane Society is proud of its 129 year history of “promoting humanity and kindness” for the animals, children and public that we have served so faithfully over the years.

We are issuing the following statement in response to your inquiry for an interview regarding an unsigned letter, which you have received and subsequently forwarded to us for consideration:

1. This unsigned letter contains anonymous allegations. Consequently, we hope that you give no weight to its contents. We will not be dignifying the contents with a reply

2. In the case of this letter, many of the allegations are libelous and whomever states or distributes these allegations could be subject to legal liability for defamation. We will immediately consult our attorneys about this.

3. You should know that there is currently an ongoing effort to unionize some of the staff at the Connecticut Humane Society. It is not unusual in this context, for unfounded allegations to be made to foster negativity towards management and for efforts to be made to share these statements with the community at large. The union issue is being addressed by the Society and handled through the appropriate channel, the National Labor Relations Board.

4. Finally, there has been a recent personnel termination from the Connecticut Humane Society staff. This action may have caused this individual to “strike out” in order to cause unfair retributive upset and damage. The Connecticut Humane Society cannot comment on any termination that may have occurred because this action is governed by privacy protections afforded the individual involved. These situations are always handled through the appropriate, legal channels. But again, if these allegations have been made by a disgruntled former employee, they are libelous in nature and should be given no credence.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of our position and for doing the right thing with regards to the letter in your possession.

Sincerely,

Alicia Wright

Public Relations Director

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100 Responses to Ct Humane Society President Under Fire From Dismissed Workers Who Tried to Unionize

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by George Gombossy, James. James said: RT @ctwatchdog: Ct Humane Society President Under Fire From Fired Workers Who Tried to Unionize http://bit.ly/7oR3Fv via @AddToAny […]

  2. Doug on January 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    good piece george

  3. Save a Best Friend Rescue on January 5, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Richard Johnston should immediately be asked to resign. I have NEVER worked for the Connecticut Humane Society however I have worked in animal rescue for nearly a decade. I rescue many animals from abusive, neglectful, and from near euthanization and many have been FROM the Connecticut Humane Society!! The wonderful people that work and have worked at the CHS that ever stood up for animals and animal rights have been bullied and terminated! The CHS lies about how many animals are euthanized and for what reasons. Mr. Johnston only wants notoriety and is the WRONG person for the job. Johnston is the equivalent of putting Hitler in charge of Jerusalem. GET JOHNSTON OUT OF THERE!!

  4. Lindsay on January 5, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    As a former employee of the CT Humane Society (April 06 – March 07) I fully support the removal of Richard Johnson as president. I worked as an adoption councelor during my time there and had minimal contact with Mr. Johnson as was requested by management due to his uncontrolled temper. (I witnesssed him throw a large stack of cat bedding and toys onto the floor and walk away with no explanation.) He instilled a fear in his staff that trickled down the line to those that mattered most – the animal handlers. I was there to save animals. With a background in animal behavior, I often took it upon myself to work one-on-one with the tougher dogs to help them get adopted quicker. There was always a promise of “promotions” and “more responsibility” yet no one followed thru. I continued my support outside of work opening my home to fosters, specifically those dogs with issues considered to be too severe for the average foster home. I truley loved the work but for the pay we recieved it wasn’t worth the constant badgering from management (again, mostly the result of pressure put on them). Most people are appaled to learn that donations made are often sold for profit. One of our duties was assisting the front desk with incoming phone calls, and I PERSONALLY answered two phone calls regarding donations in surplus of one million dollars each. I cringed as I transfered these calls knowing it would never reach the animals. In my time away, I have remained in touch with employees who became friends, have watched inumerous people come and go, and am digusted with the way the shelter is run. I’ve always been urged to “keep quiet” for their fear of job loss as retaliation, but too many people have kept quiet for far too long and it’s not fair the employees and animals have had to suffer for so long. I have countless personal accounts of wrong doing and am more than happy to share if it will help things get done the right way.

  5. Kim Pisarski on January 5, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    I want to know how Alicia Wright sleeps at night. Director of Lies and Cover-ups
    should be her title. Every word that this woman dictates is diceitful and wrong!

  6. Gary on January 5, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Hmmm. Interesting article and it certainly raises a lot of questions. Funny how people got fired together, and those people just happened to be union organizers. The sheets need to be lifted at a lot of these old line charities. From here, move on to CPTV. That’s another one that could use a good airing out.

  7. uberVU - social comments on January 6, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by ctwatchdog: Ct Humane Society President Under Fire From Fired Workers Who Tried to Unionize http://bit.ly/7oR3Fv via @AddToAny…

  8. barbara kelly on January 6, 2010 at 10:46 am

    mr. johnston should step down now.
    the animals coming there are already under stress, have been kick to the curb by their owners who promised to care for them. casted them aside because of one reason or another.bull if they do that to an animal what would they do to their children or elderly parents. One father and mother can take care of 15 children and animals but, 15 children can not take care of one father and mother. so, if the head of human society can’t respect the lives he gets paid for QUIT .keep your kids home.Have him arrested for animal abuse.

  9. Donna on January 6, 2010 at 11:50 am

    The funny thing about libel, which is a term so often used by the ignorant as a laughable means of inciting fear in their supposed transgressors, is that said “fallacious” terms must be PROVEN false and the subsequent downfalls of the company’s reputation and dwindling profit must be PROVEN as a direct result of indicated libelous statements. So is the Connecticut Humane Society ready, willing and able to let investigators in to actually prove said claims of former and current employees false in order to give their “libel” suit weight? Why do I doubt it? Fling the word around, ignorami! Fling! It won’t do you a damn bit of good if you can’t actually prove it.

    And I assure you, CT Humane Society, you can’t. But please, continue backing yourselves into various corners. It’s fun to watch. Perhaps we’ll even throw a few kicks in while your down as you’re wont to do to your animals and employees.

  10. Marie on January 6, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    My group often took dogs from other areas to CT Humane. On one occasion, we had to wait to drop off the dogs in the back garage area because employees were washing Richard’s car and they had to complete that first. We sat and waited with a car full of stressed dogs while they finished! And as many times as I have been in that shelter – and as many times as Richard has passed me in the halls – he has never once had the common courtesy to even say “hello”. Why on earth would a board of directors keep such an awful person as the leader of their organization? He needs to go!

  11. Mom on January 6, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    As the mother of Ms. Karchere, I cannot believe what has happened to her. She wanted to work for the Ct. Humane Society from the time she was a little girl. She is an unmitigated lover of animals. She owns two rescued grey hounds, and two rescued cats, in her small house with a small yard. She spends a great deal of time during every day tending to her animal’s needs. Ever since she was a small child, every time we passed a dead animal on the road, she would say a prayer for it. Any animal that is suffering brings tears to her eyes, whether in real life, or on the screen.

    When she began working for the CT Humane Society, she was overjoyed! She felt that she was finally in the place that she belonged. Little by little, I began to hear rumblings of her dissatifaction with the place. I understand that we may become disillusioned with the reality of our ideals from time to time, but from the things I heard from many directions, I completely understood her concerns. I heard many, stories about Mr. Johnston, and I agree that he should step down to allow the Humane Society to begin to heal and do the work that it is intended to do. I heard many storeis about how badly the animal care workers were treated, badly, not just unfailry. The HR person, after my daughter was given a pink slip, discontinued her medical insurance immediately, even though a deduction was taken from her last pay stub, and the insurance should have covered her until the end of the month. Even the insurance company told my daughter that she should be covered. It was corrected, only after my daughter found that her coverage was refused, and she had to pay out of pocket for a very expensive medication.

    My daughter was never given any oral or written complaints for abilities in her job, or about her performance, or any problems with her work status. She had nothing but good things written about her in her file. When she was given the pink slip, she was told that it was because of her involvment in the organization of the union. I believe, that is illegal.

    You would think, that a company which is in business for the care and humane treatment of animals, would also give humane and just treatment to a human being. My daughter has just been diagnosed with Melanoma. If the “HUMANE” Society was “HUMANE” or if Mr. Johnston had any caring in his body, don’t you think he would try to ensure that one of his employs, a good worker, who was diagnosed with a deadly disease, would be covered with medical insurance and remain in her job. He doesn’t sound very HUMANE to me. I met him once, and I would love to meet him again and tell him that he is a disgrace!

    • Former employee on January 6, 2010 at 4:09 pm

      Any person who works for the Humane society they go in thinking that this is the greatest thing to happen to me I am glad I get a chance to be apart of the mission however it all changes and the the behind the scenes at the humane society are totally different than what the public eye sees… you think we are a no kill shelter your wrong even in the vet clinic next door if you dont have any money and your dog is seriously sick or injured they will not help you your options are go somewhere else or the only thing we can offer you is euthanasia

  12. Sherry on January 6, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    I fully support actions to be taken against the IN-HUMANE society! I had a most horrible personal expierience when I visited in hopes to rescue a dog. I felt that they did everything possible to discourage me from rescuing a dog from there. Not only did I feel they were in-humane to the way they were treating the animals there, but they also were in-humane to me. None the less, I was there for a reason, to give an unwated dog love and a good home. I went through all the paperwork, lectures, and bull they put me through. Long story short, in the end I was told…”I was not the type of person they were comfortable with letting one of their dogs go to.” Guess it was having a good job with ample savings, a nice house with a fenced in back yard, a well respected vet who cared for my past pets, and my determination that made them feel this way. But I didn’t feel bad for me, I felt bad for the animals. And certainly by the looks of the beautiful renovations they have made to the place, we know where some of that donation money is really going. I have since then met several people who worked for the society, all with a passion for animals, and a commitment to changing they way people have come to view it as an in-humane place. Sadly their missions have failed and they have learned a more detailed truth about the in-humanity. It’s about time that someone has stepped up to the plate, and pointed a finger at the man responsible. Richard Johnston, you should be ashamed of yourself!

  13. CLT on January 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Who is right? Who is wrong? I have no clue. But I do know that publicity such as this will hurt donations and ultimate the poor animals that need protection.
    Please resolve this quickly – and to the party that is wrong – shame on you!
    To the employees who are making the accusations, why didn’t you take it to the BOD first? Mr. Johnston – you obviously have lost control of your work force, for the good of the organization – just maybe you should move on.
    And to the Union, please stop feeding the fire.

    • James on January 6, 2010 at 1:47 pm

      CLT, you might find it interesting to know that Richard Johnston is both the President of CHS AND the Chairman of the Board of Directors. For those not familiar, this means he leads the group that oversees what he does.

    • Mom on January 6, 2010 at 3:26 pm

      CLT: What is right or wrong matters! The employees are seeking union help, because they are being mistreated and had NO place to turn. If Mr. Johnston would step down, and the board would remove some of the managers who are mistreating their employees AND animals, the people can do their job properly – for the good of the poor animals, and people. The donations could then go to the humane treatment of the poor animals.

    • FormerVolunteer on January 7, 2010 at 9:06 pm

      CLT – Have no fear – there is over 68 MILLION DOLLARS in the CHS coffers – more than enough to take care of the animals – too bad that money doesn’t get to the dogs or the staff or the shelters now…..

  14. Dottie Hinkle on January 6, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Perhaps the reason the employees did not go to the B.O.D. is the fact that Mr. Johnston is the President of the B.O.D. and also President of the company. In my opinion the employees are going about this matter in the appropriate way. This is obviously a subject that everyone needs to be aware of. The employees are showing whats truly important, and that would be the well being of the animals and also good working environment for all concerned.

    • Ann on January 6, 2010 at 2:39 pm

      I have never heard of a president of the company being the president of the board of directors too! How convenient for corrupt Mr. Johnston. And how terribly sad for the animals! Thank God for the employees who are speaking up when the animals can not. You all have my support!

  15. formerly in-humane on January 6, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I used to work at CHS to, and I can tell you that all of this is true. I used to know the day before a shipment of dogs was gonna come in from South Carolina because they would euthanize all of the dogs in the shelter that had been there a long time. They would only rescue really cute dogs from down south, like puppies and pure breds, and to make room for the new dogs, euthanize, MURDER, any dog that had not been getting attention, like older dogs, or dogs with health problems, or anything that wasn’t cute. The employees would be almost crying with anger because there was nothing they could do. I saw people get fired for complaining about the treatment of the animals, and the managers right on up to Mr. Johnston himself didn’t care.

    If you care about the animals, and the animal care-givers, get Mr. Johnston and all the managers that he’s warped to his way of thinking out of there.

    • Cathy Derench on January 7, 2010 at 11:52 am

      I am appalled! I’ve heard various rumors over the years about the conditions at the HS but often attributed it to normal complaints…AND I do rescue work myself and have taken dogs from the HS when called and asked to do so…NOW however, I realize that there is much more to these complaints than meets the eye!

      The situation should be investigated….I know many, many people who contribute to the CT HS in good faith now only to find their dollars may be going a stray to pay for items that they would not agree with….

      Unionizing will be a plus for the employees of the CT HS…more control to the people who work in the trenches taking care of the animals…these people are the real angels here!

      CathyD

  16. NS on January 6, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    The connecticut Attorney General should launch a criminal investigation against Richard Johnston immediately. His actions clearly demonstrate a disgusting case of corruption and abuse of power. The future of our fuzzy companions is in the hands of an organization that is run by an arrogant, selfish pig who does not believe in the true mission of animal welfare, instead he’s busy bulling those who are trying to make a positive difference. It’s time for this kind of abuse to stop once and for all!

    Richard Johnston, just when you think you have nothing to fear because your so well connected, think again, you better believe from this point on “they” will be watching your every move. Now it’s time for you to put your tail between your legs and step down before the Feds beat you to it…….

    • FormerVolunteer on January 7, 2010 at 9:04 pm

      Nr, RJ is a lawyer and a politician – he has covered his tracks well. He has been investigated many times and has managed to avoid conviction up to this point. I hope with former employees involved now they can point to where the books have been adjusted to RJ can finally be put to rest…..He needs to spend 24 hours in one of his own kennels – without being fed or walked – sleeping in his own excretement.

  17. George Gombossy on January 6, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Folks
    I know you are all passionate about this issue. But lets keep the conversation civil please.
    And the AG has no criminal investigative powers in Conn.
    George

  18. Ruth on January 6, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    As a previous donor to CT Humane Society, I am fit to be tied!!!! I like to donate my hard earned money to benefit unfortunate animals who, in this case, will be even less fortunate now that those who were looking out for their interests have been fired. Shame on the Board of Directors (of whom Mr. Johnston is the Chairman) for not defending those who have attempted to protect the animals they were hired to protect. Much better that Mr. Johnston and his lackey (MS. Wright) be fired. How many more times are we going to allow the “fat cats” to take advantage of the less fortunate. Were I Mr. Johnston, I could not sleep at night knowing how I misused donations meant for helpless animals. While I will continue to donate to animal shelters, rest assured that I will thoroughly research shelters before doing so. Hopefully, Mr. Johnston is a rare exception to the rule of whom is allowed to administrate animal shelters. In my opinion, Mr. Johnston is the “Bernie Madoff of the animal world.” I hope Dateline gets ahold of this story so his & his cronies ‘ unscrupulous behaviors will be brought to light and hopefully punished!
    Kudos to Ms. Karchere and Ms. Lord for their brave defense of the animals they were hired to protect – even though they knew the possible consequences – of being thrown under the bus.
    Maybe you could get away with firing them, Mr. Johnston, but be aware that the world will be watching you from now on. Your behavior, in my opinion, points to the reason CT Humane Society NEEDS a union!

  19. kjh on January 6, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    As a former manager at the CT Humane Society (Newington) I feel compelled to add my comment. Throughout my interview process I was ecstatic to think I could be working with animals for such a wonderful organization. Within months I realized the culture within the Society was vastly different than CHS portrays to the public. People within the organization are not allowed to think autonomously. Sadly, the majority of the comments made regarding this article are true about Richard Johnston and his management team. You must follow HIS vision in order to be considered a team player. Truth be told, there is no one to complain to about how badly the organization is run because Richard is the BOD and employees are afraid to say anything negative because of the reprocussions. Most of my responsibilities pertained to managing the animal care and medical staff. I had the honor of working with the most compassionate and caring staff who truely worked at CHS because of the animals. As a manager I was routinely badgered to reprimand my staff for trivial matters that I didn’t agree with but was the expectation from Richard Johnston and his followers. I was fortunate that I left and was able to free myself of the stress endured during my employment. It’s kind of hard to stay in that environment when you can never do anything right! I was one of many that left within a short period of time. I know that for those of my friends still employed at CHS it is for the utmost love for the animals that they are able to survive in that environment. IWhat goes around comes around…hang in there guys! I’m here if you need me!

  20. PK on January 6, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I agree with CLT’s comment above….donations will be hurt, but this whole thing is definitely worth looking into. After 20 years atop with little oversight, it may be a bit easy to take advantage of the system, but again I hope all of the allegations get resolved in a timely fashion and if there is any wrongdoing, those parties are help accountable. In the end it is all about the animals, being loved and taken care of.

  21. omd on January 6, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Just remember one thing people not only are your donations PAYING FOR MR JOHNSTON past practices. Keep in mind he is now using your funds to pay for LEGAL fees because he is fighting the union. But is probally trying to sue those that have had to the COURAGE TO SPEAK the TRUTH! Hats off to Maureen and Bridge! As a volunteer among several hundreds this sickens me that people with such loving heart have suffered this fate.

  22. From Everyone on January 6, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    A SINCERE THANK YOU to the ones who stepped forward, you know
    who you are. There will be a plaque on the Humane Society wall with
    your names on it, as for now, keep fighting! We will win! What a way
    to start out the NEW YEAR!

  23. Ivona on January 7, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Nothing could be truer regarding donations to fund Richard Johnston’s past practices. Johnston has proven to be a bully to the animals who lost their lives, employees who lost their jobs, and faith in the CHS. He will now use donations to pay for LYING and deceiving the public even longer in court against true allegations against him that are long overdue.. The people that are standing up to Johnston have EVERYTHING to lose and NOTHING to gain! They are putting their quality of life at risk to stand up for the humane treatment of animals which is what the CHS preaches! Why does it take so long, so many people, and so many lives lost to make a change? Why does Johnston have this much control? I am SICKENED. Please for the love of God. Make a change! For animals, people, employees, volunteers, donors, and for basic humanity! Mr. Johnston should resign immediately if he any shred left of a soul.
    How many animals need to lose their lives in silence before we can hear anything?

  24. ejn on January 7, 2010 at 3:15 am

    A short time ago I went to look for a dog. The proceedure is to sign in before you are allowed to do so. At the reception desk was a young girl about 8 or 9 years old who warmed my heart. She was talking about how for her birthday, she requested that her guests bring a toy for an animal in lieu of a gift for her. This child’s unselfishness just amazed me and I was so proud of her decision to forgo her own presents for the good of helpless animals.

    I later learned that these gifts were taken to the upstairs office to be “SOLD” at one of the CHS special events instead of given to the animals as the child intended. Mr.Johnston should hang his head in shame for allowing this practice to take place. Obviously this man does everything for his own benefit. He has bullied his employees, misappropriated CHS funds, cheated a little girl of her birthday wish , deprived innocent animals of a plaything. Shame on you Mr. Johnston. You have been caught once to many times with your hand in the “treat jar.” This guy needs to spend some time in the pound.

    • ejn on January 7, 2010 at 4:23 pm

      Other information was given here but “watchdog” must have deemed it inappropriate for people with hearts for other life.

  25. CG on January 7, 2010 at 9:24 am

    To Richard Johnston, DANCE PUPPET, DANCE!

    • Victoria Andreo on January 7, 2010 at 10:02 am

      Remember people…..the one who angers you….controls you.

      The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in time of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality/innocence ~
      Dante Alighieri

  26. KnowTheTruth on January 7, 2010 at 11:00 am

    As a former volunteer with the CHS I am so thrilled to see the abhorrent actions of Richard Johnston come to light. I witnessed firsthand the horrendous treatment of caring, wonderful staff by him. He is a cold, malicious, power hungry excuse for a human being and ANYONE who has had the unfortunate displeasure of meeting him can sense that right away. He does not care about animals, humans, only himself. There are also many people in management positions that must have been beat up as little kids because they are obviously abusing their positions of power. There are WONDERFUL, DEDICATED, TALENTED, CARING people working at the CHS. None of them are in a position of power and they have been treated like crap for far too long. My heart breaks for the animals, and for the good people that work there and I applaud Bridget and Maureen for having the courage to stand up and fight. I only hope and pray that the right thing is done. I would like to say that as far as I could ever see, the animals were treated well. That is because the animal care workers take such good care of them and the volunteers do as well. For Richard and his management groupies…it’s all about the money.

  27. mblf on January 7, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I did dog walking for a short time at CHS. One day I was walking a very enthuastic dog when Richard Johnson showed up with his two dogs….OFF LEASH…..I couldn’t believe it.Someone in his position should know better. That put me and everyone else in danger of a dog fight. Shame on you Mr Johnson

  28. also worked there on January 7, 2010 at 11:33 am

    I worked for the CHS for a few years, all the statements are true!
    It is a money making business for Mr. J. it’s all about numbers so he can impress his rich friends , in turn making him look good, so people will donate more money to his cause (his pocket more like it)
    The employees are continually badgered about numbers (adoption #;s) do more , do more, but his only reason is so his stats look good.
    Get this guy out of there!
    Notice his head office is beautiful, while the other ones are dilapedated and run down, And who in they’re right mind would put up a millions of dollar new kennel that the animals (dogs) couldn’t not even go out side in a run, instead kept in small kennels inside with recycled air -get real .
    And yes they do bring dogs in from down south, loads of them, what’s the matter with taking dogs from conn. we sure have enough of them to go around if you want more dogs in your kennel! Or how about taking dogs in from owners like your suppose to?
    The true workers at the CHS try so hard to do what needs to be done, but are continually held down by they’re leader. So get rid of the leader and all his little cronies and hopefully the CHS will resume it’s rightfully role of caring and compassion.

  29. P. Hundley on January 7, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Mr. Johnston should be FIRED, just like he did to the caring people who tried to do the right thing.
    It is deplorable the way some people use their power to accomplish things. He has no more care/concern for the animals than a Michael Vick type. Get him out before he can do more harm to poor defenseless animals !
    I only hope these people making these accusations have proof & then it isn’t considered slander

  30. JP on January 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    This is a clear case of one mans need for power and his over developed ego that will be his demise. All this at the expense of the animals in his care and the generous people that donate money for the animals. Check out Guidestar.com and you will see that last year the worth of the CHS was in excess of seventy million dollars. At the same time the small 501c3 rescue groups in Ct. struggle to help the animals that CHS turns away and refuses to help.
    It is disgusting that CHS gives out these organizations information along with personal phone numbers for people that need financial assistance to save their dying pet. These small groups, mostly comprised of volunteers, are always operating on tight budgets and negative numbers but their moral compass tells them what is right and they don’t spend the donations on anything but the care of the animals.
    Mr. Johnston needs to step down and let the CHS be the organization that it proposes to be.

  31. Care on January 7, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I am saying many prayers for these helpless animals and abused workers. May the Lord protect the innocent and bring Richard Johnston to justice!

  32. Buddy on January 7, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I think it’s time for an all-out media blitz! Expose everything. If Johnston has nothing to hide, then why is he not talking on behalf of CHS! BOD my behind!

    • Pissed Off on January 8, 2010 at 12:09 am

      To be honest that might not happen, becuz he has been a senator n, he is a lawyer, he probably has enough connections for all of this to get swept under the rug. More than just media has to be involved.

  33. Care on January 7, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I will pray for these innocent animals and abused workers. May the Lord let Richard Johnston be brought to justice.

  34. From Everyone on January 7, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Nobody has mentioned that Richard leaves his dogs in his truck on
    100 degree days for hours at a time. Sometimes he will leave it running
    for them othertimes not. I actually was going to call the police one day
    on him for this and was told I would be terminated if I did so. He also
    will put off cleaning and feeding the animals if he has a board meeting,
    because all of the staff is pulled to clean the building and grounds to
    impress his family of board members. On these days the animals
    would wait until 2p.m. to be fed and cared for.
    He would also send animal care workers to pick up lunch for the board
    meeting, usually about $200, for thier lunch!

    Pretty sad considering that all the food that is donated to the animals
    isn’t even used. We are not allowed to feed treats and wet food to
    the animals. We only feed Science Diet dry food to the animals, nothing
    else. The food that is donated is stock piled in the garage which Richard
    contantly complains about. The animals are only fed minute portions of
    food and some even loose weight in our care because of the skimpy feedings.
    I could go on about the wrongful things that take place at CHS everyday, but
    I’m sure you get the picture. Right behind him in the unemployment line
    should be, (other managers – their names were removed by Ctwatchdog). They are all just as guilty as Richard!

  35. al dutton on January 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    how do jerks like this hold a job at a humane shelter..he needs to be removed and sent to jail if this is true..i dont understand how anyone can treat animals in their care like that…what he needs is a taste of his own medicine….fire him and fine or jail him……

  36. Linda on January 7, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I work at a municipal shelter and have a working relationship with some workers at CHS. On several occasions we have taken in very adoptable animals that were going to be euthanized for no good reason, and found them loving homes. I found it quite interesting that the CHS had such a great reputation and got so many accolades, when many of us in the trenches were doing everything we could to save the animals at CHS. I’m so happy this is finally public knowledge, it’s been a dirty little secret for too long as far as I’m concerned.

    • JP on January 7, 2010 at 7:39 pm

      I agree with Linda. The group I volunteer for has placed many CHS animals slated for euthanasia. Why? It’s not to help CHS but to save an animal that just needs medicine, food, patience and love. They just weren’t perfect enough for CHS and it’s false marketing campaigns. I am sure these animals, that the rescues took in, are listed on their successful placement statistics. It is all about numbers with CHS and numbers can be manipulated. I hope the folks that really know what goes on will speak up and help the animals. They can not speak for themselves.

  37. Jane on January 7, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    I was asked to take a young hound mix who was inappropriately placed with a family. The pup was too hyper for young children. When the father tried to return the dog he was told that if he did it would be killed! He was furious that the puppy should have to pay with his life because a worker didn’t do their job. He found a home for that puppy rather than take it back to die. How can a supposed No Kill shelter have rules like this? It made me so ashamed to have moved to this state. That and allowing the Hartford Pound to kill strays. I thought CT was a civilized state, but boy was I wrong! With the corruption I’ve seen here, I doubt that anything will be done about this and that dogs will continue to die.

    • Disgusted in CT on January 7, 2010 at 5:53 pm

      ANY animal that is adopted from the CHS and is brought back is always euthanized!

      • anony mouse on January 7, 2010 at 6:41 pm

        Not true. Many returned animals are placed into new homes, but given more restrictions (no kids in the house, no other animals, etc.) Where CHS fails is to try and help the people they do turn away, or to find alternatives to euthanasia for those animals they do feel the need to put down.

      • tony on January 7, 2010 at 7:35 pm

        not true at all. we do not put animals to sleep simply cause they are returned.like anony said we just make sure that the dog goes to a home where it suits him/her better.

        • tony on January 8, 2010 at 9:31 am

          H i dont know where you are getting your information from but we dont put animals down just cause they are returned. if that was the case i would’nt want to work here. i do believe all three branches operate a bit different depending on whose managing the place,and i can say that in OUR facility we dont do that…..

          • Shock & Awe on January 9, 2010 at 2:11 am

            Tony and Anony speak the truth. My dog was returned a handful of times for a variety of reasons but was still given a chance. I have never loved a dog more than I do this one.

            Please people… stick to the facts. The generation of false truths only weakens our credibility, and ultimately – hampers the efforts of those who are truly fighting for the animals and their caretakers.

            What you do not know, you should study. What you think you know, you should verify.

      • H. on January 7, 2010 at 8:54 pm

        Disgusted: This is so, so, so, false. Beyond false. False to the power of false.

      • KnowTheTruth on January 8, 2010 at 9:55 am

        Let’s not get crazy here and just start spouting out false allegations. The purpose of this is to get the truth out, not smear CHS. It is not the shelter that is to blame, it is the President and the management staff. There are good people at CHS that care a great deal about the animals. Please don’t comment on things you know nothing about. And obviously if you think that’s what happens to ALL animals when they are returned, you know nothing about this.

        • James on January 8, 2010 at 10:07 am

          KTT, well said. There are many good people at CHS, and there is no doubt that this verifiably false claim is unhelpful to the common cause that is bringing everyone together. Sadly, there are enough verifiably true claims here already that are the reason everyone is coming together to talk about this.

      • Disgusted in CT on January 9, 2010 at 8:32 pm

        I would like to express my apologies, I was misinformed and possibly a bit of a hot-head and I agree and applaud your comments. To my knowledge, this is what I believed was true. I stand corrected, thankfully. I appreciate everyone involved in the rescueing of animals and appreciate the TRUTH. Thank you for allowing me to hear your side of the truth. God Bless you all.

    • Lindsay on January 7, 2010 at 6:46 pm

      They don’t claim “no-kill” but “low-kill” which allows room for interpretation.

    • James on January 7, 2010 at 6:52 pm

      Hi Jane, just to clarify, though they are still rather vague on their guidelines for euthanasia, CHS does officially state on its website that they are not a No Kill shelter. The real problem is that the vagueness in their guidelines and absence of published statistics means that we, the public, have no way of tracking what is actually going on.

  38. Just a Husband on January 7, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Being the husband of a former animal care giver at CHS I have heard many stories of how things work there and on more than one occasion had my wife come home in tears.

    I believe everything I’ve read so far and I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceburg.

    I hope for the sake of CHS,the animals and workers that Mr J is removed quicklly,he seems like a spiteful man and I’m sure will make working there unbearable for everyone.

  39. omd on January 7, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Why not ask Mr. Johnston why his 8 year old Lab was put on the Humane Society website for adoptiona few month back. Or just ask his mother. Doesnt she work there too?

    • anony mouse on January 7, 2010 at 6:37 pm

      Actually, he fired her. . . from volunteering.

    • Lindsay on January 7, 2010 at 6:47 pm

      She retired. Be nice if she spoke up against him, I’ve had some nice chats with her about her disgust in how he turned out!

      • Victoria Andreo on January 7, 2010 at 7:17 pm

        Just remember……apples don’t fall too far from the tree.

        • Concerned Citizen on January 7, 2010 at 7:37 pm

          The funny thing is, he did not even have the guts to fire his own mother, he made one of the managers do it.

        • Lindsay on January 10, 2010 at 8:38 pm

          his apple fell VERY far from the tree.

        • Danny on January 21, 2010 at 4:29 pm

          Victoria Andreo — Whatever you say about RJ may be true, but please don’t slander Mrs. J; she is a wonderful woman who volunteered at the CHS and at her church for many years. While raising her three children, she also volunteered for the Women’s Auxiliary to the Htfd. County Medical Society, raised money for their charities, and volunteered for Meals on Wheels.

    • Victoria Andreo on January 7, 2010 at 7:36 pm

      He also got rid of a Bichon Frise, In his mind…..pets are disposable.

  40. Yet another former employee on January 7, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Ok I feel it’s necessary to add to the growing list of complaints.
    We need to keep this dialog going. I worked at CHS years ago, and still talk to a the few people there. I can personally account that all thats been said is true. Not only is it all true, but it’s just the tip of the iceburg. The Humane Society workers are some of the most compassionate people I have ever met. BUT the management team has got to be one of the worst bunch of people I have ever known. Richard has trickled down his greed and hired each one of his management staff to be his puppets. Each one of them is doing his bidding. Adopt more animals, faster, faster, faster. Even if that means turn away the older, less adoptable animals to keep room open for young, highly adoptable animals. That means putting down animals to keep open kennels for more adoptable ones. The southern rescues were told to only ship up small, or younger dogs, those that can be adopted out quicker. The staff must work faster too. Even if that means cutting corners. And not to mention leave them under staffed for what years now, years of being under staffed. Good time to blame it on the recession?! When the numbers are higher you’d think the staff might catch a break, nope never happened. Faster, better, now. And if you cant keep up, or god forbid you have an opinion, that’s it, your out. I am lucky to have moved on, and have only heard how much worse things are now, and they continuing to get worse all the time. I applaud those that are standing up, even though all there jobs are on the line. Its about time though. Good luck everyone!!

    • christine on January 8, 2010 at 9:57 am

      The volunteers in 99.9% of any facility are there and do their jobs because they love and care for the animals they care for. These negative but very true accusations of the code of conduct regarding the administration has NOTHING to do with the genuine honesty, integrity, and love each and every volunteer has and shows each and every day in these places. The volunteers are innocent and I hope it is understood that all this negative press does not apply to the volunteers. I am appalled and would give my left arm to be able to work and change the CT Humane Society aka. animal shelter into a non-profit animal rescue, rehabilitation, and sanctuary covering the region. By doing this, 99.9% of the funds would be used for the animals, trainers, vet care, food, and anything else the animals might need. After the 7 day mandatory quarentine a stray animal must endure, the animals would immediaetely be transferred to this Regional Rescue as trainers would work with each of the animals on a variety of issues which gives these animals time to get a fair, unbiased behavioral screening. Screening them in the pond or shelter setting is not a fair assessment. These poor animals need several weeks to get comfortable in a new setting, be around and handled by human hands who will not hurt them, vetted appropriately, fed on a normal routine basis etc. ONLY after these things happen can one get a true assessment. If things present themselves, there would be trainers who will work with these issues to get rid of them so the animal is deemed even more adoptable.

      The volunteers who work in these facility’s have the hardest job imaginable and it takes remarkable strength and courage to work in these places day after day and be able to walk out the door leaving the animals they love so much there in the facility. I could not do their jobs because I could not walk out of any facility without taking the animals with me. The integrity and purity of these places comes directly from the volunteers. Without them and their love for the animals, the facility’s would not run and the animals would pay the ultimate price if left up to the buerocrats. God Bless our courageous volunteers and when something is wrong, speak up about it. You have all of our support for doing yet another act of pure bravery fighting for the ethical treatment of homeless animals who need your compassion and love you all so freely give.
      The shame in these accusations is not yours to carry. The people abusing the system are the ones who shame the state of CT with their greed and the lack of complete integrity to the job they are getting paid well for. There are plenty of people who adore animals and would love the opportunity to have the chance to love them and care humanely for them together with the team of volunteers who share the mandatory love and devotion to so many animals who desperately need them.
      God Bless and justice will prevail as the shakedown is on exposing every person who’s integirty to their job is jaded and self serving. Thjis is not a job you can do to just take home a paycheck. It is a job that demands a true love for animals and the dedication to care for them and give them their best chance for adoption.

  41. H. on January 7, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Former employee here.

    I loved my time there. Loved it so much I still volunteer there. Much of what is being reported about the corporate end of CHS is true, Myself, and many others apparently, can verify that. I can’t describe how excited I am that the workers are advocating for themselves and unionizing. Awesome! Truly awesome and inspiring.

    HOWEVER.
    One outrageous myth that keeps being perpetuated in the comments here is the one about CHS euthanizing animals for no good reason. It is lies like this that affects the public perception about the GREAT work CHS does. I can verify that the few animals that CHS euthanizes are either medical lost causes (it becomes kinder to humanely put down than to keep an animal alive for the selfish sake of keeping it alive) or are euthanized for behavior reasons–it’s a matter of public safety.

    *** When LIES like “CHS kills happy little puppies for fun” are spread, donations and volunteerism are adversely affected and ANIMALS SUFFER. ***

    I hope this gets resolved quickly (Hire a nanny and step down, Mr. J!) because it’s painful to see the name of the organization I love and believe in get dragged through the mud. Those workers who BUST THEIR BUTTS on behalf of homeless animals every single day for unlivable wages deserve better than this!

    • Karma on January 7, 2010 at 10:13 pm

      H.
      I respect your opinion; but my, it must have been a long time since you worked for the humane society…and I bet it was for one of the smaller branches. Because I myself have seen so many senseless deaths in my time there. Over a matter of some ridiculous policy, or an improper testing method, or because the behaviorist felt “weird” about a certain dog. Dogs being euthanized for separation anxiety and food bowl aggression…and cats being euthanized for litter box avoidance issues…I mean really…
      But, I agree the organization and the staff are wonderful; however the way it’s being run now, euthanasia included needs to be fixed ASAP. And the only way to do that is to remove RJ and his unfit management team.

      • Victoria Andreo on January 7, 2010 at 10:18 pm

        Prior to testing for food bowl aggression, some dogs were not fed for two days.

        • KnowTheTruth on January 8, 2010 at 2:16 pm

          How do you know this? Do you work there?

        • Lindsay on January 10, 2010 at 8:47 pm

          No dog is or has ever been starved, other than the medically required no food before surgery. And you cannot use the word “behaviorsit” because a behaviorist is someone with a PhD in behavior – none of the employees hold this title. Unfortunately the last person being made to do these evaluations had absolutely no animal background whatsoever but was very adapt at the art of brown-nosing and more than willing to be a puppet. Sadly, becuase of her ignorance many dogs suffered. Much of the food bowl aggression was due to an improper diet of a low calorie food used to settle upset stomaches – something meant to be a temporary feed.

    • James on January 7, 2010 at 10:14 pm

      CHS does indeed do great work, and that is something worth repeating again. In this I agree, H., they do it despite management under Richard Johnston. However, just to clarify, I don’t believe anyone here actually said “CHS kills happy little puppies for fun” (I did a search on the page, no luck). That said, I appreciate your point, H., and I think, honestly, that everyone here has much the same concerns, and not one poster wants to see the animals lose out. If CHS would, internally and externally, do a better job of clarifying its euthanasia policies and declare actual numbers, we’d be in a better position, all of us, to assess what is actually going on with a charity that, given the passions expressed here, we all care about.

  42. Shock & Awe on January 7, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    I too worked for CHS for a number of years and I can attest that most – if not all – of these accusations regarding Johnston are true. There are, however, some misconceptions floating around. There actually is a need to import dogs from out of state in order to supply family friendly dogs to the public. Additionally we should refrain from demonizing the organization. Most of the people employed there are hard working, caring individuals who are there for all the right reasons and we must not ignore the good they’ve done or the sacrifices they’ve made while working under this tyrannical regime.

    Sadly, this necessary and belated uprising may indeed cost CHS much needed donations, but if that is the cost of exposing Johnston and ending his reign, so be it. He is a manipulative and deceitful individual who runs CHS through intimidation and false promises. While his behavior often seems erratic and unpredictable, there is one constant: the man is incapable of honesty. Even seemingly mundane details are spun to his satisfaction (often times with no apparent benefit to him). Other falsehoods are not so benign.

    Over the years, when his absence at CHS was noted, he often claimed to be working on behalf of CHS at the State Capitol. On multiple occasions, it subsequently became known that he had actually been in Florida. Interestingly, there was also a rumor that at some point, a woman had bequeathed her Florida condo to CHS either to be used as a reward for employee performance or to be sold, the proceeds to benefit CHS. The second half of the rumor was that neither had ever occurred.

    Johnston surrounds himself with yes-men and lackeys who do his bidding; either out of fear, ambition, or both. With few exceptions, those willing to challenge him have been ushered out, forced to resign, or have chosen to leave on their own. Many bright and talented leaders have been lost by CHS due to this culture of corruption; and those who have remained by his side are thoughtless drones with no compassion or consideration for those who work beneath them. Ironically, Alicia Wright, the very woman now poised to defend Johnston in the public eye; was one of the employees most often charged with acting as caretaker, mentor, and on occasion – disciplinarian for his young daughter while she paraded freely through a potentially very dangerous working environment. Perhaps even more ironic is the fact that Alicia recently played the role of the mother in a TV ad which featured Johnston’s daughter. It seems Richard’s dishonest nature has also infected this once seemingly honest woman.

    I had the pleasure of working with Maureen Lord, and I can tell you that she is hard working, kindhearted, and highly intelligent. She was an asset to CHS and her contributions often went unrewarded. Sadly, she and Bridget have now received the same “reward” that has befallen so many quality employees who became the target of Johnston’s ire.

    I’m no doctor, but I’m guessing there’s something pathological about Johnston’s behavior, possibly even sociopathic.

    Yep, just looked it up at http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html. Here are just a few of the listed traits which apply: Glibness and Superficial Charm; Manipulative and Conning; Grandiose Sense of Self; Pathological Lying; Lack of Remorse, Shame, or Guilt; Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature.

    Richard Johnston epitomizes these traits. Accordingly, many of you have wondered how such a man has been able to remain in power for so long. Several of you have astutely pointed out a power structure which affords him virtual immunity. But the question that still remains is this: Why would the Board let him get away with this? I suspect the answer is as simple as it is timeless: Follow the money. Who supplies CHS with its paper/printing, furniture, architecture, and God knows what other services? Whom indeed.

    • Betsy on January 8, 2010 at 8:52 am

      Importing friendly dogs to a multi millon dollar facility is instanity.
      Naturally there’s a $ sign behind “imports”. If ANY reputable animal welfare facility did not have the type of pet residents are seeking SEND THEM TO OTHER SHELTERS, NON PROFITS, RESCUE PERSONS…

    • KnowTheTruth on January 8, 2010 at 9:52 am

      Awesome post Shock & Awe

      Betsy – what is wrong with transporting family friendly dogs in danger of being euthanized to another part of the country where adoption rates are higher? Sure there’s $$ behind it, but these dogs’ lives are being saved also. There’s nothing wrong with helping out shelters in other parts of the country. I would like to see them do more with local dog pounds though. I know they work with some, but they could work with more.

      • Norah on January 9, 2010 at 2:05 pm

        The problem with importing dogs from the south is that there are a lots of dogs in CT that needs help too and have no place to go. The majority of municipal animal shelters do not take in dogs surrendered by their owners. This can be for multiple reasons, eviction, divorce, allergies etc. These dogs have no place to go. These people reach out for help to the CHS and are told they have no room, “because they just took in 100 dogs from the South”.

      • AL on January 10, 2010 at 12:21 pm

        I agree with Norah – Taking dogs from the south, to save them is no different from people saying they are buying dogs from pet stores to save them. All they are doing is supporting the pet stores and puppy mills that are selling them. If CT takes all the dogs from down south that need homes, it isn’t really helping the problem. The problem is what kind of society they are coming from. Maybe these people need more education or laws pertaining to spaying and neutering. You have to look at the source of the problem. Have you ever wondered how many of the stray/unclaimed dogs the municipal shelters pick up are dogs from down south that people adopted and then decided they didn’t want or couldn’t care for? There are lots of dogs in municipal shelters that need homes. Why do we have to bring them up from the south?

    • Yet another former employee on January 8, 2010 at 7:48 pm

      Shock and Awe- well said!! Exactly right!

      Betsy- Many lives that would have otherwise been euthanized for lack of free space were saved. No matter how much $ went into Johnston’s pocket, there’s no denying that many, many, lives were spared.

      Knows the truth-The problem with transports were the demand for younger more adoptable dogs. The dogs were chosen based on looks, and age, and over time, it was required that the transports be filled with the most highly adoptable dogs. And if the shelter couldn’t comply, well they were gone. We did help lots of dogs, but we weren’t helping those most in need, we helped those that boosted the numbers. That was wrong!

  43. joan on January 8, 2010 at 12:52 am

    There are negative comments from too many people here for this information not to be taken very seriously.
    I applaud those who have come forth to speak the truth. It isn’t easy, especially when the one you speak about is “powerful”.
    Just remember: “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”

  44. It's about time! on January 8, 2010 at 11:20 am

    As a former volunteer at the Westport facility, I cannot begin to tell you about the atrocities committed by this organization. Dogs were euthanized for heartworm…dogs were euthanized for separation anxiety….dogs were euthanized for excessive messing in their cage…dogs were euthanized for “acting funny”….none of which falls under the reasons CHS provide for euthanization. In addition, dogs were knowingly adopted out to serve as outdoor guard dogs. The sanctuary that is supposed to be used for “adoptable dogs that have been in the system for over 90 days” in Waterford sits empty while dogs that could benefit from a respite at the “sanctuary” continue to decline in a kennel situation. And, in regard to the money people have donated to the CHS to “protect open space”, what assurances do these donors have that the CHS won’t develop the land in the future? Despite their huge bankroll, the CHS continually calls on smaller much-less-funded organizations to help them with problems that an organization their size should be able to address themselves – but that would cost $$. Richard Johnston has done an incredible job of protecting the organization from public scrutiny, and it’s time for the public to know what he is hiding. It’s time for him to be removed and someone come in that truly cares about animals and the people that work for the organization. Hopefully his lobbying efforts, political contributions and his hand-picked Board members won’t be able to protect him any longer.

  45. Carol on January 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I have donated money to the CT Humane Society regularly for years and find it applauding that these donations were not use in the best interest of the animals it was intended for! If Humane Society President Richard Johnston has used funds inappropriately for personal gain then he should resign. If guilty he should be fired! The Attorney General should immediately initiate an investigation into the finances of Mr. Johnston & the CT Humane Society’s use of funds. Also, I would like to see an investigation into the inhumane treatment & practices used towards the animals and make sure they are receiving the proper care and not being killed for no reason. This makes me SICK!

    • Jo on January 8, 2010 at 2:18 pm

      PAWS in Norwalk and Adopt-A-Dog in Greenwich/Armonk are great organizations to support by donations. I have personally been a kennel attendant employee at both places. They are truly “no kill” and put faith in all dogs that come through their doors. They do testing only to establish what type of home would suit the individual dog, not to determine if the dog deserves to live. I hope they still have such practices today and have no reason to believe they have changed.

  46. Sue on January 10, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Wow! I can’t believe what I am reading! We have an absolutely beautiful cat we got in Newington 10 years ago and she’s still part of the family so keep the positive in mind too. I am shocked that this has gone on for so many years, but with the number of people speaking up there’s definitely some truth here. My hat is off once again to George for breaking this story!! I think its great how George has given so many people a voice!

  47. KJ on January 11, 2010 at 7:06 am

    If you are speaking out on this forum about what you have personally seen and experienced at CHS, I do hope you are calling the State’s Attorney’s office and reporting it to them. Otherwise none of this will make a difference.

    Johnston regularly threatens people with libel and slander for saying anything he does not like. He did it to me more than once. I found his threat laughable. As an attorney he should know how laughable his own threat is. I never worked for him, but if I did I would be calling the State’s Attorney’s office. I have been a volunteer in shelters and have spoken up many times. In one instance, a small group of people who had the guts to speak up were responsible for the removal of a mini version of Johnston who managed a shelter. A wonderful person was hired to replace her.

    This is your only chance to make change happen at CHS. The issues are now in the public eye. If you remain silent now, it will all fade away and he will continue his reign of terror and abuse of staff and misuse of funds.

  48. KJ on January 11, 2010 at 7:17 am

    So many animals that were slated to die at CHS were given a 2nd chance due to the efforts of volunteers and staff. They were taken by other organizations that have been on the brink of closing due to lack of donations. CHS had NEVER donated excess food or supplies to other shelters in the state. CHS has never financially helped another shelter in the state.

    Read their FAQ page for info about NOT being no-kill and more

    • KnowTheTruth on January 12, 2010 at 10:59 am

      As a former volunteer I can vouch that donated food and supplies are stacked up in piles in the garage. They use a certain brand of food for the animals – why don’t they tell people that when they donate food? Surely other shelters or even food banks could use it. But no – it is accepted and sits in the garage until it expires and then gets thrown out. They DO use the donated blankets, newspapers and toys though.

      • Lindsay on January 12, 2010 at 11:07 am

        The food is available to fosters if they ask. I don’t feed commercial food to my dogs nor my fosters. I always checked the garage on the off chance someone had donated some leftover holisitc or natural brand food to give my fosters otherwise I paid out of pocket for food and vitamins each and every foster received. I also did inform people when they asked that we would not use that food for the animals in the shelter – kongs and blankets/towels are the prefered donation in most cases.

  49. Volunteer on January 12, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    I am a dedicated volunteer with CHS and I have been for years. I have had the privilege of meeting and working with incredible people that have a true love for animals and a gift for working with them. I have also witnessed firsthand the manner in which they are treated. I have seen these individuals busting their butts only to be reprimanded for not working fast enough. The disrespect is extremely disturbing to me and some of the hypocrisy and double standards I have witnessed are mind boggling. While I’m happy to see these issues come to the surface and I stress they DO NEED TO, I’m very worried about the good people there suffering the ramifications for this. I’m also worried that once this blows wide open that people will hold it against the entire CHS; which they shouldn’t. I can tell you that the majority of people working there are GOOD people. Unfortunately their voices are not heard and most are scared to even speak an opinion for fear of termination. It honestly is the battle of good vs evil. Please don’t let what is happening right now deter you from adopting or promoting adopting from CHS. Please don’t think that it is filled with corrupt, selfish and evil people because it is not. I’ve known these people for a long time and they deserve respect and they deserve to have a voice and not live in fear every day at work. CHS has lost a lot of very good and talented individuals because of the way they were treated, it is time for change. I wish everyone the best of luck and offer my full support – it’s time for the “good guys” to be heard!

  50. volunteer on January 13, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    It’s obvious that this clown has to go. In my time of volunteering there I have spoken to some of the staff and they have shared some of the experiences they have with management. I suggest they make a call to the NLRB and have them investigate the fact that he is fostering a hostile work enviroment. In this day and age it’s taken very seriously. Don’t let the fact that he has a law degree scare you, he’s just a blowhard.
    I do love volunteering there and find it quite a relaxing break from my job. This stress these folks are under is unbelievable. They do it for love of the animals and should not be treated as bad as they are. I think the managers do kill animals for wrong reasons some times, I’ve also noticed that when a pure breed comes in, it’s either tagged as a hold for Johnston, or is brought upstairs never to be seen again. Sold? I don’t know, but it does seem suspicious.
    Johnston is a jerk and should step down before the public loses all faith in the organization or ends up in jail.
    Hang in there worker bees, you’ve got all the volunteers behind you and we come from all walks of life and know a lot of people. There is power in numbers!!!

    • Lindsay on January 14, 2010 at 10:26 pm

      Those are taken to his home for Julia to play with until she’s bored and real training must begin and what gets returned for adoption is a not so nicely behaved, not so small and cute puppy that’s far from housebroken and socialized. He also holds animals for friends, and I will quote a manager in saying “I can do certain things you can’t because I’m a manager, and Mr. Johnson can do even more as the president – that’s the way it is.” This is in reference to my holding a puppy for 48hrs (there’s a max 24 hr hold) for a neighbor to bring her handicapped son for an interaction (which went well and they love this dog more and more now 3 years later). I have more behavioral knowledge than all of management combined, but hey, Richard doesn’t allow for personal gain unless it’s to his benefit. Now I evaluate dogs privately and no one questions my decisions or knowledge.

      • Yet another former on January 15, 2010 at 9:00 am

        Sounds like you should be in charge of the behavior “department” of the NEW and IMPROVED CHS once Bozo is dethroned……

      • volunteer on January 15, 2010 at 9:25 am

        Thanks Lindsay, that’s what I suspected. I’ve seen the manager gushing about a new dog and it quickly disapears.

      • DC on January 18, 2010 at 8:52 pm

        The animal care managers at CHS certainly don’t stay to because animal sheltering is lucrative, nor they stayto do the bidding of others. They stay because they care and will sacrifice all in effort to positivily impact the lives of these animals. They stay because it is who they are, and they are comitted to making a positive difference for the animals! Shame on you all.

        • Mer on January 19, 2010 at 11:29 am

          You obviously aren’t familiar with the managers at the Newington branch. Maybe they care, but they lack the basic education and critical thinking skills to do their jobs minimally well. They compensate for this glaring short coming by abusing their power and rarely act in the best interest of the animals.

          You have then, based on those facts which can be empircally and objectively evaulated, a dichotomy. Either they care but are too ignorant to be useful, or they don’t care and are there for personal reasons. Either way they should be removed.

        • Also a Volunteer on January 20, 2010 at 11:38 am

          In order to make a positive difference for the animals, the people that are responsible for caring for those animals need to have a positive working environment…which they don’t. They are horribly understaffed, unappreciated and are treated like 5 year olds. Timing someone in the bathroom? Come on now. This isn’t management, this is an abuse of power. Leadership Skills 101 teaches “treat others the way you would like to be treated”. Unless they are sadomasochists, I highly doubt management enjoys the way they are treated by RJ. The cycle needs to stop with them.

        • Lindsay on January 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm

          No, one newly appointed manager stays because she needs the insurance for her children, and can’t afford to leave and have no insurnace for a period of time in a new job. And that was a statement given to me by her. The other, well…..slim chance she’d be tolerated anywhere else and her lack of confidence means she’s stuck there. Just maybe with no authority she might be tolerable and change for the better, but is absolutely incapable of an unbiased management position.





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