Support For Group Seeking To Oust Connecticut Humane Society Chairman Grows

January 29, 2010

A group of animal lovers intent on driving Connecticut Humane Society President Richard Johnston at least out of his post of board chairman said today its ranks had swelled to more than 120 people.

In a statement put out by The Coalition for Change, it said that 30 present and former employees of the society have joined as well as 10 current volunteers. The others are animal lovers, the group said.

The Humane Society has about 50 full and part-time employees in its Newington headquarters and in its Waterford and Westport shelters.

The Coalition has asked to speak to the society’s board of directors, but so far has not had a response.

The Coalition maintains that Johnston, who has been president and chairman for 20 years, is a poor manager who bullies workers and has fired employees for their union support.

Johnston, a lawyer and a real estate agent, has not had any direct response to the allegations against him, including that he led a group of managers last September hiding dangerous chemicals when OSHA inspectors came to the Newington headquarters.

Through a spokesperson, Johnston claimed that the allegations against him are false and the worker unrest stems from a union drive. He threatened to sue for libel.

“It is the position of the Coalition for Change that the responsibility for the deterioration of animal care at the Connecticut Humane Society falls primarily on one person: the organization’s Executive Director, President, and Chairman of the Board, Richard Johnston. It is calling for him to be removed,” says the press release.

“In the only statement issued by the Connecticut Humane Society in response to the Coalition’s charges, spokesperson Alicia Wright called the allegations “unfounded” and blamed the entire Coalition project on employee efforts to unionize. Coalition member Cathy DeMarco (a former employee) says that, while this response was expected, it is still disheartening.”

“The only reason the union was contacted in the first place was to protect the employees who want to change things for the better,” she said. “They are at the end of their rope, but at the same time, they need their jobs. And any time any of them have tried to discuss their concerns about animal care with management, they were ridiculed and threatened. It just has to stop.”

“Besides,” DeMarco continued, “I have nothing to gain from employees unionizing. The great majority of people in the Coalition have nothing to gain from it. Employees deserve to be protected during this effort, but what we want is for things to get better at the Connecticut Humane Society so the animals can get the care they need. That’s not happening now.” DeMarco was briefly employed at the Society in 2009.

Similar Posts:


89 Responses to Support For Group Seeking To Oust Connecticut Humane Society Chairman Grows

  1. Alpha Dog on January 29, 2010 at 2:47 pm


  2. H. on January 29, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Keep the pressure on!

  3. Harry P. on January 29, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    It is of the utmost importance that the public understand that the poor management of the shelter negatively impacts the animals in our care. For example, the serious lack of staff makes it impossible for workers to take the shelter dogs out for adequate walks. Employees try to finish the public kennel by 10:30 AM but all of the other dogs in isolation, ward 4, etc. still need to go out. The workers hope to get to all of them by lunch time but this can be an enormous challenge. It can take hours. If staff members do not return within a few minutes from these walks, the managers (former team leaders) reprimand them. The red card dogs can only be walked by the employees. Volunteers cannot assist with these dogs because they have either behavioral issues (such as aggression) or they have a health concern or they have not been tempermant tested yet (also due to lack of staff). These red card dogs desperately need time with the wonderful CHS staff but they usually only get 2 very short walks and nowhere near enough training and socialization. They end up spending days, even weeks, in a kennel until they are ultimately deemed unadoptable and euthanized.

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on January 30, 2010 at 9:14 am

      As volunteer’s we are getting countless emails asking us to pick up extra hours and to come in early etc….which we are happy to do however, if management thinks that volunteers can replace the paid staff, they are sadly mistaken. Part of the beauty of being a volunteer is that you do it because you want to. If it becomes that we are being “used” so that they don’t have to add staff so they can work the remaining paid staff so hard they want to quit, you’ll lose all of your volunteers. Manager’s DO the right thing here and stand up for what you KNOW is wrong! This is no way to run a business and by allowing him to bully you into doing it is just buying into his power trip.

      • Focus on January 30, 2010 at 9:46 pm

        I’m glad you brought this up. There are indeed many emails now about extra volunteer shifts/ volunteers being needed to help out. This is obviously because of the lack of animal care staff at this point in time.

        • volunteer on January 31, 2010 at 12:29 pm

          Being a volunteer I have noticed drop in people coming in to help in the dog dept. I’m wondering if some don’t want to get drawn in to the negative vibe in the building. I’ve been doing it for a while and volunteers do drop off when the weather changes but this year there’s been a shortage on every shift. A lot of people don’t realize how much work it is wrestling terriers for a few hours and can’t take the beating.

          • OMD on January 31, 2010 at 8:27 pm

            Volunteer need to be strong for the ANIMALS. Yes the negative publicity is challenging but the animals need us. The intent of the Coalitions as well as the Unionizing staff is to make things better for the animals. Please do not let management tell you differently. They are saying the reason for the tension is because of the Unionizing this is WRONG. If MR JOHNSON cared about the Animals at all he would stepdown. UNION BUSTING IS ILLEGAL!

          • to omd on January 31, 2010 at 10:26 pm

            I agree 100% with you, Johnston should man up and step down, by the way, has anybody seen him lately?? Is the snake hiding??

  4. BP on January 30, 2010 at 10:02 am

    I was an employee at the Connecticut Humane Society during the late 80’s early 90’s when Richard Johnston became president of the Society. One of the first changes was to eliminate the Agents. They attended the police academy and had the authority to write and serve arrest warrents. They were replaced with Shelter Managers. Removing those powers from our Agents put futher stress on the already over worked State and Local Animal Control Officers. The hands on prevention of animal cruelty became a non-issue for the Connecticut Humane Society. Not one of the Agents still works for the Society. They were dismissed for one reason or another.
    There was a period of time when Richard Johnston would send the Manager out on a complaint and they would have to call the Animal Control Officer to actually do anything.
    We also had a daily pick up schedule. Senior citizens or other people with out transportation could have their pet picked up for a small donation. We were always available to pick up sick or injured animals 24 hours a day. One employee was on call for such emgergencies. Now the Society only accepts drop offs and has essentially become a pet store.
    At the time we all thought these services were eliminated to save money, but after seeing the new headquaters it was apparent that it was for better landscaping.
    I know the employees in the trenches at the Humane Society have the same caring hearts we did then.
    Remove the obstacals and let them do their jobs.

  5. InThKnow on January 30, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Keep up the great work.. Anything from OSHA on their last visit?

  6. uberVU - social comments on January 30, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by ctwatchdog: Support For Group Seeking To Oust Connecticut Humane Society Chairman Grows via @AddToAny…

  7. Alpha Dog on January 30, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Alot of people think that the CT. Humane Society is like what they see on T.V.
    Agents going out and rescueing animals and responding to animal abuse calls. Unfortunately that couldn’t be futher from the truth. They don’t take in animals in neglectful situations. I once witness this poor dog come in that clearly was being abused and neglected horribly, The manager was advised that there were already too many “medical cases” in the building and to turn the dog away. She told the owners that we were full and couldn’t take the dog.
    I wanted to cry at the sight of this poor dog as I watched her walk out of the building to an unknown faith just because she wasn’t cute and adoptable the Humane Society didn’t want to waste the time, money, or effort to save her.

    • InTheKnow on January 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm

      So in essence, Mr Johnston and his board are responsible for the packs of feral cats the area and abandoned dogs roaming the streets to starve all for the almighty profit. Is not the CHS a “non” profit organization?

      This is about mis-management and a hostile and potentially dangerous workplace.. Everyone email Betty White.. bet she’d love to hear about this cause.

  8. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by George Gombossy, James and maureenlord, Coalition for Change. Coalition for Change said: RT @ctwatchdog Support For Group Seeking To Oust Connecticut Humane Society Chairman Grows via @AddToAny […]

  9. Mayor Of Dogtown on February 1, 2010 at 8:34 am

    I would encourage Volunteers to ask questions, but don’t be shocked that the answers are going to say it’s insignificant etc. Volunteers need to keep coming in for your shifts. Think about it, if your a dog walker, with only 2-3 incoming employees, they cannot walk the dogs as much as they need to be walked. Yes, it’s cold out right now but the dogs still need to go out….they need the socialization…..It’s almost spring and that’s when it’s so fun to be outside with them….Your needed more than ever now.

    • Mer on February 1, 2010 at 11:40 am

      Also, they are thinking of doing away with the “early shifts” because they no longer want staff in the building unsupervised by management.

      This means they very first dogs won’t be allowed out their kennels before 9:30 at the absolute EARLIEST. That’s with only 2 people scheduled per day to take them out (and take care of the rest of the animals). I have well trained dogs that are great about letting me sleep late, but they cannot go from 10:00 PM until 9:30 AM without crying and seriously needing to be walked. The dogs at CHS get their last walks at what, 4 or 5 PM? And that’s only with the assistance of volunteers.

      Anyway my point is, to echo Mayor, the animals more than ever are dependant on the help of volunteers. So, thank you for your continued efforts and unwaivering dedication that goes above and beyond what should ever be expected from a volunteer.

      • Alpha Dog on February 2, 2010 at 12:30 am

        I bet the caring hard working managers are not offering to come in any earlier. So that means that they are cutting employees hours again. That means even less care for the animals because less volunteers will come in as well because some like to come in early and help and now they won’t be able too. I would like to know who’s bright idea this is?

        • Another Volunteer on February 2, 2010 at 6:26 am

          I don’t think your info is correct. I am a dog walker, and I got an e-mail two days ago that morning kennel volunteers are now allowed to come an hour earlier (8:30 instead of 9:30), because they have scheduled managers to cover that shift. This will certainly be one improvement to how things have been run in the past. I agree that there are still many more changes needed, but make sure the information you post is accurate.

          • Concerned too on February 2, 2010 at 3:20 pm

            Yes now finally the dogs can get a walk earlier than 9:30am with more people there to help, now maybe the dogs can get a proper walk and the extra socializtion they need. Please volunteers do take advantage of this great opportunity to help the animals. This is a small turn around, but there are bigger issues we still need to address. Please keep your heads up high and thank you for all of your support.

        • DC on February 2, 2010 at 7:14 pm

          Wrong again. Perhaps you should stick with facts and stop “betting” at the expense of the animals, employees , and the organization.

          • anony mouse on February 4, 2010 at 1:53 pm

            The managers decided that they can’t trust the employees anymore, so they bought locks for ever desk and cabinet in sight. Then they decided they they can’t even trust employees to be in the building unchaperoned, reversing the past decade of scheduling, and now have a manager in the building at 8:30 while the morning employees start cleaning. They want volunteers to help with walking not for the benefit of the animals, but to ensure that the employees don’t even get a 3 minute break from cleaning. (yes, the employees only get to walk the dogs for 3 minutes each.)

          • Concerned too on February 4, 2010 at 2:16 pm


          • Alpha Dog on February 4, 2010 at 6:55 pm

            These “managers” need to get a life!

  10. Azy on February 1, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I am suprised that the society’s board of directors are not making at least an effort to hear the coalition in person. But I will say that the coalition is growing and will be heard!!!!!!!!!!! It’s time to step down Richard Johnston and while your at it please take some of your “money hungry” board members with you!

  11. just wondering on February 1, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Has there been any contract language discussed yet ? What;s taking so long?

  12. Lindsay on February 2, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    I would love to see a certain poster come forward with a written statement seeing as she was the last officially hired person on the “outside” to a management position. She wasn’t there long before she realized the horrible conditions were not what she signed up for and she left not long after I was gone. I hold no hard feelings to her personally as she was forced into a room to corner me along with a supervisor to reprimand my actions which ultimately saved a dog from euthanasia via a child interaction. Long story short, said supervisor pulled a clearly marked “adult home only” australian shepherd into a room with two children under 10 and asked them to “run around” to question my behavioral testing which stated the dogs very high natural tendancy to herd. The dog did herd, right for the childs face, and I grabed the leash just in time and removed the dog from the room, interaction over and done, this was not the appropriate dog for them. So in an attempt to intimidate me, this supervisor asked for baking from the district manager where I was taken and cornered in an adoption room, belittled, reprimanded and completely embarassed. But don’t worry, I didn’t take my beating politely, I hit right back and made my point clear that I was in no way wrong for what I did, I had no intention of appologizing for my actions which clearly saved the life of this dog. It was a very quiet few weeks that followed (thank god!) when this supervisor chose to avoid rather than confront me again. It wasn’t the first time I was pulled into a room by multiple managers (it would take two hands to recall the number of times I was punished for befriending co-workers – that’s right, you are not expected to be friendly with those you work with!!), but bringing in the district manager was just a low blow. If you’re reading this, I understand you were under pressure to follow orders and back those poor leaders in charge. Maybe now is the time for you to come forward. Afterall, you worked side-by-side with the big man. I have no issue coming forward, I use no fake names on here. Do the right thing, join our cause publicly and make a statement.

    • Marge on February 6, 2010 at 9:01 pm

      Lindsay, I applaud you and your very quick action that saved that animals life. You are so right in asking past employees who have delt with these conditions to step forward. Another “not favored” employee was fired today. Wow, one on Friday, another one today… the pace has picked up. If my score card is correct there are 4 more “black listed” employees to go. Mr. J and his “management team” can complete their rampage by Thursday or Friday iat the latest f they need to rest a day. To the “team”…remember how Mr. J. operates…if YOU make him unhappy or try to have an original thought…or think at all for that matter…see you later, your gone.
      Dedication, love of the animals, experience, kindness, hardwork…none of that will save you.
      Volunteers stepping in to pick up the slack??? While I believe in the dedication of volunteers (having volunteered for many organazations myself) remember the word is VOLUNTEER. Make it too uncomfortable for them and…well you figure it out.
      Right at this time the shelter is severly understaffed, newly hired management/supervisors have not begun or finished proper training and good, very good people have been fired. Who suffers? Yes the animals, but also the employees who have been fired, those that are left and the poor suckers that may be hired.
      If I was a member of the Board of Directors of the CHS I would immediatly disassociate myself with these actions. The vast majority of the public will not look upon you with a great amount of respect. If you own a business…I myself would think twice about becoming a customer considering your inability to communicate. To the general public continue to support the shelter, past, current and recently fired employees belive in it, but please question the loudly what has been happening!!

      • Lindsay on February 7, 2010 at 12:25 am

        Well we know I can’t just stand back and watch!

  13. Mayor Of Dogtown on February 2, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Again, it seems to start going back to managers vs animal care workers and it’s not about that. However, this constant NOT hiring more staff and asking volunteer’s to pick up the slack while it’s a band aid, does not FIX the problem. I do think it’s a positive move for the sake of the animals but it’s a double edged sword. He’s allowing THIS so that he doesn’t have to add more staff which in turn still overworks his incoming staff so they will be miserable and quit. This has to stop. Why is the board not making any effort to fix these issues?

    • Lindsay on February 3, 2010 at 6:11 pm

      Well management and RJ go hand-in-hand. He choses the managers who will give him the least amount of trouble and turn a blind eye allowing him to continue on with business as usual. Why should the board take a stand? They don’t gain anything by hurrying the process along, if anything they stand to lose out with someone else in charge who runs things differently.

  14. where's the UNION on February 5, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Is the union helping at all??

    • OMD on February 5, 2010 at 6:50 pm

      Union has nothing to do with ousting Dick there are two separate things!!!! The Union is for a totally different reason. TOO PROTECT the non union employees. Make sure they are treated fairly Whenthey are not. When they get done with those people. The volunteers are going to be fired next!

      • TO OMD on February 6, 2010 at 8:00 pm

        What are you taliking about. Who said anything about them getting rid of johnston? The unions job is to get in his face and demand better treatment, get the NLRB involved and get negitiation s going. Protecting non-union?? Non union reap benefits that union people get such as health benefits,
        dont make such stupid comments, it will hurt your cause.

        • OMD on February 6, 2010 at 10:51 pm

          I apologize. My intention is not to hurt the cause at all. I mean to say that the union has nothing to do with ousting Johnston. That the unions purpose is to proctect the NON MANAGEMENT EMPLOYEES. Make sure they are treated fairly. When they get done with the Non Management Employees they are going to fire the Volunteers! I am a Union member and TOTALLY BELIEVE IN UNION POWER. I am sure that the Union is advising those that need to be advised.

          • TO OMD on February 7, 2010 at 9:53 pm

            Apology accepted, I was a Teamster for 25 years

  15. Lindsay on February 5, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    One more firing today. Complete bs reasoning, and another 3 or 4 people on probation after reviews came out, so it’s only a matter of time before they go too. That leaves about 4 managers to run the place. All you current employees need to file individually with the state labor board. Harrassment in the workplace, and fear of job loss due to threats is illegal, and they can help stop some of this in the short term. It’s a good thing I left wheen I did, my “exit interview” would not have been pleasant under these current circumstances. Lets step up to the plate!

    • Volunteer on February 6, 2010 at 12:59 am

      This recent firing is a travesty. I guess being exceptional with animals and caring for them means nothing. The fact that you refuse to be treated like a five year old does. I’m seeing these good people drop off one by one and what is left? Control freaks that think they’re in charge of a daycare. All I can do is pray every day that good will ultimately prevail. THIS IS NOT RIGHT!!!

      • Alpha Dog on February 6, 2010 at 1:11 am

        How can they possibly get away with this over and over again? The Labor Board will be contacted first thing Monday morning, along with another call to the media! The person in which they fired today is one of the most caring compassionate people I know and the animals will truely suffer from the loss of this dedicated long time employee. Shame on you CHS, Shame on you!

        • Volunteer on February 6, 2010 at 8:55 pm

          And another one today.

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 6, 2010 at 11:54 am

      This makes me physically sick. As a volunteer, I used to be so PROUD that I worked for the Humane Society, now I feel more embarrassed than anything else. Management, you simply cannot run an organization like this. The New District Manager cannot be this blindsided by all this. It’s not physically and mentally possible. She HAS TO STEP UP and say this is NOT RIGHT and we’re going to turn this ship around. I find it hard to believe the new team leader would stick around after seeing what’s been going on unless she has no heart and soul. If it were me, Id say, what the hell have I gotten myself into and run as fast as I can in the opposite direction. With one less adoption counselor, that leaves even less time for the animals….HELLO people on the board, this is NOT about revenge on the staff, it’s about the animals and they will pay for all this with their lives, change MUST HAPPEN now! LIke LIndsay says, we all need to step it up a notch!!!!

      • Concerned too on February 6, 2010 at 12:54 pm

        I can’t believe they fired someone so dedicated and caring about their job. This is another example of the punishment employees get for loving their job and sticking up for their rights. Well it looks like chs is setting up the chess game in their favor again. Hiring more managers than staff workers is ridiculous and firing employees without any means of rehiring in that position is wrong. They are short staff as it is, are they losing their minds? I wonder if the board is notified or involved in this recent firing. All these new decisions that have been made in the last few months are a retaliation due to the union issue. If chs thinks getting rid of all the employees is going to make this go away, they are wrong. This empowers us even more to stand up and be heard.

      • Lindsay on February 7, 2010 at 12:29 am

        Well which one is actuall ythe district – the 22 year old baby girl just fresh out of college with no real amount of job experience pertaining to animal care nevermind managing? That’s a great hiring choice. She won’t step down, she’s been given a highly coveted supervisory job that she’d actually have to work hard to earn anywhere else.

        • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 7, 2010 at 10:58 am

          She’s the new team leader…..the new district manager is a former board member. She started out great or so it seemed but she is just another Johnston puppet.

          and why do they call them DISTRICT managers anyway, a DM is typically overseeing a DISTRICT not one building. Shelter Manager would be more appropriate if in fact they were allowed to manage so I guess we should just calll them puppets…..

        • TO Lindsay on February 7, 2010 at 9:56 pm

          I heard someone new was bitten 4 time already because of no dog handling experience, was it her?
          We all no what a dog bite means, off to doggie heaven it goes!

          • Lindsay on February 8, 2010 at 9:36 pm

            Shelter manager would totally be a more appropriate title. and yes lack of experience totally leads to dog bites. I’ve had people tell me that because in almost 7 years of dog training the fact that I’ve never been bit by a fearful or aggresssive dog, I must not really be training them. Or that I have it coming. No, because if you know how to read the dog and you don’t push that dog past it’s comfort zone, you should never get bit. If you want to be an aggresssive idiot (think cesar millan) then by all means, you’re gonna get bit left and right, you’ll scare dogs and suppresss their aggression temporarily, but you’ll never truely train them. I don’t feel bad for people who get bit when they push a dog too far, i feel bad for he dog being forced to make that choice.

  16. Lynzee & Malfoy on February 6, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Yet another employee has been dismissed. One who cares greatly for the animals that are in her care. No one should be treated like this. The management at the CHS has proven that they are nothing but bullies for Mr. J. and that they have no management skills or desire to manage a caring and safe establishment for our animals. The management cares more about the smiles you do or do not give to fellow workers not about the experience or skills you have to careing for these animals. The management at the CHS are puppets for Mr. J. and nothing else. CAN YOU PEOPLE SLEEP AT NIGHT? SHAME ON ALL OF YOU (THE MANAGEMENT) FOR ALLOWING THIS SHELTER TO BE BROUGHT DOWN BY YOUR HATE AND CONTEMPT FOR YOUR FELLOW MAN! MR. J. YOU NEED TO GO!

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 6, 2010 at 6:41 pm

      These people need to be unemployed. Your working at an animal shelter, while some things are important in person to person dealings, the bottom line is it’s all about the animals. As it stands now, the animals are suffering, I can’t even imagine what time they are eating with so few people taking care of them. It’s unforgiveable that the management staff would not have a job were it not for these animals who are homeless, yet they give back by making sure they do not get fed, walked or socialized. Good move Kitty and company! I think perhaps the entire upperstaff needs to be sent to management school to a) Learn how to manage people, b) Learn what it means to be a manager and c) learn how NOT to be a pawn for someone when you know in your heart that these things are not right. Do the right thing for the animals! Speak UP!!!!

    • who?? on February 6, 2010 at 8:01 pm

      Who was let go and why???

      • Been there done that on February 6, 2010 at 10:12 pm

        Lynn from adoptions was let go today for supposedily not following protocol for rescueing a cat that was going to be put down. Talk about a sorry ass excuse for firing someone. It’s about time everyone realizes that it’s Kitty who runs the show at CHS. That woman can lie and talk her way out of any situation. Kitty befriends all new employees talks about other employees and when she’s done with them she moves on to her next victom. She can talk her way out of any situation. Years ago employees were questioned as to who gave a manager the nickname the Troll. Well you guessed it, it was Kitty, but she lied and said she had no idea. She even drove around frantcally trying to purchase a troll doll. She talks about everyone in management in a bad way and puts the blame on someone else. Well lets see who will be her next victum to join the ranks of the unemployed. Hopefully it will be some of these backstabbing managers.

        • Lindsay on February 7, 2010 at 12:32 am

          It’s sad that you can get fired for taking too long to prevent a cat from being euthanized.

      • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 6, 2010 at 10:44 pm

        Lynn and Amanda were the latest victims….after Maureen, Bridgett and Ron….time is ticking here, we need to step things up and make a public statement. Please tell me someone has contacted at least ONE board member to stop this insanity. They are contributing to bringing DOWN this organization that they are supposed to be looking out for. I sit in disbelief that they are so blind to what is happening here. When the animals start dying or being euthanized for cage agression, it will be too late. The damage will have been done. I’m going to go throw up now,this is just insane. We need to quickly put new signage up so we can call it the INHUMANE SOCIETY.

        • OMD on February 6, 2010 at 10:56 pm

          I totally agree with MR MAYOR AND LINDSEY! As for final warnings, if they are non management they are on a 90 final warning for one thing or another. Look at the website there are more openings for management, then OBAMA HAS AT THE WHITEHOUSE. In a Union Company Managementis first to go, then the bargained for employees. This is why Johnston is doing this. I am sick to my stomach as well.

        • OMG on February 6, 2010 at 11:01 pm


    • Alpha Dog on February 6, 2010 at 8:58 pm

      The sad thing is that these managers actually love doing things like this, especially to an employee who they didn’t like because she didn’t kiss thier ass. It doesn’t matter how good of a person you are or how well you do your job. It just all comes down to who’s ass you are willing to kiss. They don’t have anything better to do. I can’t wait until it is thier turn, at least the wrongfully fired employees will go on to a better place where they are actually appriciated. Good Luck to these managers finding another job, most places require SOME skills and you clearly have NONE!

  17. Lindsay on February 6, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Another one bites the dust…that leaves 2 more on probation who will be forced out for one reason or another. And if you aren’t on probation and this makes you feel safe, good luck with that. You’ll be forced out too. He’s driving the shelter into the ground and he doesn’t give a damn. Talk about cruel. Maybe now more people can officially come out? Anyone ever see the old Disney movie the Newsies? “Open the gates and sieze the day. Don’t be afraid and don’t delay – nothing can break us, no one can make us, give our rights away. Arise and sieze the day.” I’ll refrain from singing the rest, but come on, let’s pump up the volume on this, let everyone know, even if you stop people in the grocery stores, the public has a right to know!

  18. Lindsay on February 7, 2010 at 12:23 am

    Well I dropped a line in with PETA today about the lack of people to care for animals, and made sure to stress it is not the fault of the animal care workers that these animals are being neglected. They are vocal so I hope they do help. Vocal is needed right now because the BOD’s seem to be wearing blinders and earplugs. It’s time to start questioning individuals board members if they refuse to honor our request for a meeting. We’ve been courteous to them long enough, the animals can’t speak for themselves. If anyone has an up-to-date list of board mambers with contact info, please pass it along, I have no problem making some calls or visiting offices to see who will speak to me and who’s gonna put up a fight. Be nice to know what we really are up against and if any of them wouldn’t mind burying RJ in all this and do the right thing!!!

    • To Lindsay: on February 7, 2010 at 1:54 am

      I came across a website that may be useful to you, Look up I believe that’s the info your looking for.

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 7, 2010 at 10:55 am

      Would the board list be on the website?

      • Lindsay on February 7, 2010 at 12:24 pm

        the website has an older list, but i do have those names and thier info

  19. Alpha Dog on February 7, 2010 at 1:41 am

    But yet she still has a job? Guess that is okay though? PETA here we come!

  20. Been there done that on February 7, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Someone should contact Ellen Degeneres or Betty White. Both are great animal lovers. Just maybe Ellen would mention this on her show. Be great to have her on our side.

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 7, 2010 at 10:54 am

      Hmmm thats a good idea….we can flood her with emails….how about Bob Barker…?

  21. Alpha Dog on February 7, 2010 at 2:01 am

    I think some of the “sick” things that goes on behind closed doors at CHS need to start coming into the spotlight. How did Mango, one of CHS’s beloved mascots die again. Oh, that’s right he was attacked and killed by a dog in the lobby. Not the story that was told to the public. How about when a dog was transported to another shelter on a 90 degree day and was left in the van too long and nearly died from heat exaustion. The cruelty cases that were simply overlooked because the people did the right thing and paid the “fee” to dispose of thier no longer wanted pets. How about the dog that was left for over 2 days in the transport trailer in the parking lot after a shipment of dogs came up from the south. The dog did survive after being in a cage no bigger than a cat carrier with no food or water for a total of 67 hours! The list goes on and on.

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 7, 2010 at 11:12 am

      Ohhhh say it isn’t so…..

      I have a few stories of dogs getting euthanized that just broke my heart….The worst part is, they LIED about all of them and said they were sent to rescue or something like that. Some of the staff would tell the truth to us who inquired. If you care about an animal and ask, you should be given the truth even if it hurts. One particular dog, Id have given ANYTHING to be allowed into the room when put down so I know he went with someone who truly loved him. He was a return who should never have been placed with that couple in the first place. Yet, he was a “challenge” to adopt and we could not find a “reason” to reject them. In this case we let that dog down by adopting him to the wrong family.

  22. WOW!!! on February 7, 2010 at 7:40 am

    I have personally worked with Amanda many times in my function as a volunteer and am apalled that she was let go for such a stupid reason. I have never met a kinder, gentler person with the animals as I saw in Amanda. She was always ready with a treat for a dog when I came back in from a walk if she happened to be in the hallway, treating them like they were the best dog in the world and the dog would respond in kind. She was always ready to offer me any advice I needed when asked. I saw the same love for the cats. She even went out of her way to make sure a stray cat I brought in got adopted out to just the right person
    I’m so pissed off right now and I am trying my best to kep this note as civil as possible.
    I do work for a major corporation who has no tolerance for the kind of behavior exibited by the management of the CHS. This is stricktly bush league behavior by a bunch of amatuers who probably can’t even manage their own lives, let alone try to manage a business.
    Don’t let them get a away with this, go to the Labor Board with this case, and to the rest of the employees still there, document every detail of the harassment. I seriously think you might have grounds for a lawsuit for harassment and cruel and unusual punushment. I’m not a lawyer and perhaps someone with more knowledge can chime in on this.

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 7, 2010 at 11:07 am

      Amanda is the bomb. I can’t wait to see her come back in the door having won this battle along with Lynn, Maureen, Bridgett and Ron..assuming they want to.

      They should all be able to come back and claim ANY position they want. Amanda is very dog savvy, she should be a trainer….but Floor General of Adoptions would be sweet too.

      I didn’t know Maureen and Bridgett until recently. Probably because they were not allowed to mingle with the minions…*smile* But they are great people who need to be brought back unless they have found other jobs.

      Ron was always good for laughs, he helped make the sometimes drudging days go by faster and funner. Oh shit, I might have crossed the line there because your not supposed to like the people you work with.

      And then Lynn….she was the kindest person I’ve had the pleasure of working with in a long time. How can they target people with big hearts. She does everything in her power to stop an animal from being put down. It’s what EVERYONE in that building should be doing but instead….they become fans of “lets just put them down, it’s easier”!

      The top tier needs to be revitalized and then we can begin the damage control and put the place back together again. Using the tools already there. Get a PR person who gets the mission statement, find a president who will live the Mission Statement and show the public how this place is supposed to run.

      • Lindsay on February 7, 2010 at 12:44 pm

        Being friends with co-workers is a big no-no there!! I can’t remember how many times I was pulled into a room and reprimanded for working too closely with Amanda on adoptions. I’m sorry we worked so well together that we relied on one another’s opinions for proper placement or that she would ask me to explain the nuances of owning a herding breed becuase of my experience owning Aussies. Or I would ask for her grooming advice. We all worked very well together, it’s a team effort to adopt an animal, and that’s as it should be. Too bad management and RJ are so paranoid that the closer you are with co-workers the more you will “talk behind the backs” of management.

        • Greyhound lover on February 19, 2010 at 7:34 am

          Great comments guys! I worked for CHS and I agree 100%.
          Here’s a thought for you; Johnston and Janice discourage any shred of friendship, happiness, or hope in that company. They pin shelter against shelter, dept against dept, and manager against manager. It’s all part of his sick mind games and manipulation…
          If people don’t trust each other they will only care about themselves. And, if people don’t trust each other they will never share info ie his secrets. He made sure everyone did not mantain friendships or feel a sense of job security so they would never “rise up” against him.
          To bad for him crazy is just plain crazy and in the end good does prevail…Karma.

  23. last straw on February 7, 2010 at 8:34 am

    I have informed Melissa that I can no longer, in good conscience, volunteer at CHS. These recent firings just broke the camel’s back. It’s been difficult to balance my feelings against the welfare of the animals but feel I have to do this. If, and when, the turmoil dies down, and the administration and board are changed, perhaps I will feel able to return. Other volunteers–please give this serious consideration–somehow we have to get through to these people!

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 7, 2010 at 10:51 am

      I’m doing the same thing today. This is a total misuse of power. The ones who are being hurt are the innocent animals and yet this is supposed to be our mission. What the heck? I know how volunteers are feeling but what you have to get is that WE are being USED as a part of the big picture, phase out the staff which will phase out the union and replace them temporarily with volunteers. Sorry but I will not be a party to this. I volunteer my spare time because it was fun and rewarding. Now they want it to be like a job and not pay us to do it. BullShit!

      • Lindsay on February 7, 2010 at 12:47 pm

        Good for you guys. Talk with the other volunteers and everyone should come to a general consensus that this is wrong. The animals won’t be left to die. Managers will have to step it up for basic care, and there are other organizations who can absorb animals from CHS if it comes down to it. This it what it is going to take for people to see we mean business. He can’t just abuse people at will becuase he’s unwilling to do the right thing for the sake of pride, or arrogance, or stupidity.

  24. Mer on February 7, 2010 at 11:06 am

    To Amanda and Lynn, I am so sorry you are the latest casualties.

    To everyone who wants to take action, we need to flood the AG’s office with in person visits and phone calls. They will not pay attention unless we make them pay attention. This is classic union busting activity and it is illegal. Unless we make it known how egregious these activities are the office will not pay attention.

    Also, try the Dept. of Consumer Protection. They may be able to address things that are not within the AG’s jurisdiction.

  25. Lindsay on February 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    So would be great, except in order to view board member information you need to have a premium subcription which runs $350 a month…not exactly in my budget! Do we know anyone who already has a subcription we can piggyback off of?

    • To all who can help on February 7, 2010 at 2:02 pm

      Sorry Linday, I really thought that would be the information you were looking for. But during my research mission I did come across some other websites that I think everyone should take a look at:
      d.…/state whistleblowing laws
      h. www.
      My questions are:
      a. Where’s 2008? There’s info for 2002-2007 only?
      g. Look at Osha’s whistleblowing info and the report on CHS.
      H. Where’s the new regional shelter? It’s been over 3 years now.
      I hope this helps anyone out there who can help us. I know there’s more info out there and I’ll definetly post any new websites I find. We all need to stick together and keep up the good work.

      • Lindsay on February 7, 2010 at 4:28 pm

        Thanks, I guess it’s available in the tax info section, i have the pdf, it gives names but of course no addresses or phone numbers.

        Some were easy to track, like Dr. Barrios (E. Hartford Animal Clinic) and Dr. Haines (Hartford Vet on the Berlin Tpk). Then there’s the Treasurer, Mr. Neil Kelleher who appears to work for YhB Consulting, the company who CHS uses for it’s 401k.

        Kathyann Cowles is the only one to have spoken in favor of RJ, she owns an architectural firm 501 Main St, South Glastonbury. Was hired to work for Amity Regional School District No. 5 in 2004/2005: and it seems again in 2008: ;won an architect Award of Excellence in 2004 for some Phizer project (now there’s a corrupt company!) ;member of AIA CT (architect group)

        Gretchen Dale, Westport, no new address for her since she just moved, haven’t figured out where; Chief Operating Officer for Loftex USA; volunteer in Westport Shelter since 2005; according to Westport Assessors office she made a pretty penny on a home sale in November – Gretchen F. Dale to Edward P. and Kimberly and Nancy DiConza, 107 Cross Highway, $1,250,000 (yes folks, that’s a million)

        Other names I didn’t quite pinpoint info are:
        John H. Miller (good lick, it’s way too comon a name!)
        Peter Spano
        Chris V. White and appears to be wife Leslie White
        Lou Ann Guinta

        Then there are what I can only assume are prior member listed on the CHS website:
        Robert Baseler, 25 Coachman Pike,Ledyard, CT 06339 (860) 464-8717 (has himself a brand new 2009 mustang on tax records but his home is listed strictly under his wife’s name, smart man); found a link for the company he was once Director of Engineering Technology for back in 2002 looks like possible sketchy stuff:

        Margaret Ormond, 114 BUTLERTOWN RD WATERFORD, CT 06385 860-442-7888; is a notory of the public; formerly employed by the CT Technical High School System as Asst. Principal for Norwich Technical High School – is not listed on their website, so assuming new job, and google search tells me she has left the corporate world to join Mary Kay Cosmetics!:

        Steve Parker,180 Indian Hill Rd Newington Ct (860) 666-2069; pretty sure through deducting the ages on all the steven parkers in Newington this one is him others are his father and kid, BUT he’s on the public television channel all the time in Newinton (my husband is from there) and he does all the video stuff for CHS.

        Ellen Sharon, 196 S Main St, Colchester, CT 06415-1464 (860) 537-6731; President of CompetitiveEdge some sort of electronic newclipping source: ;and her personal page on there ;is also Chairman on the Colchester HDC (historic distric commission)

        Jennifer Rubin, 7 Buckingham Pl Norwalk, CT 06851-5003 (a home which she acquired in 2008 for $0…it’s a half million dollar home); VP of Marketing for, a discount glasses dealer based in Brooklyn, NY.

        All of this was obtained legally through google searches,, and then once you have an address, most town offices have all of their tax information online to search even further. Have fun, but as a start I’m gonna say spread the word, no doing business with Hartford Vet or East Hartford Animal Clinic!

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm

      I tried to do it too…and hit the same wall….

    • Mer on February 8, 2010 at 12:52 pm

      Johnston has all the Board members listed as being at the CHS Newington address on the 990s. Continuing his theme of lack of transparency.

      I should also mention that Johnston appealed (represented by Cathart even back then…) under the Freedom of Information Act in the 1990s to ensure that CHS never needed to make public any of it’s annual reports/board meeting minutes etc. What on earth is so super secret at nonprofit needs to hide it from the public?

  26. Lindsay on February 7, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    William Haines, DVM, Hartford Vet Berlin Tpk – VP BOD
    Neil Kelleher – Treasurer, Senior Consultant for YhB Consulting (the company used for 401k)
    Wilfredo Barriosnuevo, DVM, East Hartford Animal Clinic, Connecticut Blvd
    John H. Miller
    Peter Spano
    Chris V. White and wife Leslie White
    Kathyann Cowles, AIA, 501 Main St, S. Glastonbury Architect firm (the only member to speak out in RJ’s behalf)
    Gretchen Dale, also a volunteer in Westport – Chief Operating Officer for Loftex USA
    LouAnn Guinta

    Previous members as listed on the website are:
    Robert Baseler – former Director of Engineering Technology
    Margaret Ormond – notory of the public; formerly Asst. Principal for Norwich Technical High School, google search tells me she has left the corporate world to join Mary Kay Cosmetics!
    Steve Parker (the tv add guy)
    Ellen Sharon – President of CompetitiveEdge, a Colchester based online news source
    Jennifer Rubin – VP of Marketing for

    • Concerned too on February 7, 2010 at 4:51 pm

      Awesome job Lindsay!!!

      • Kate on February 8, 2010 at 10:48 am

        It seems to me that if these names were made public with enough details of what they’re allowing to happen, perhaps their clients may start speaking up or stop using their services. Seems like these folks are getting off easy here….let’s hit them where it hurts – in their wallets and in the success of their businesses! Do their clients know what these people stand for?

        • Kate on February 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm

          PS. I just want to clarify. I have no proof that these people have done anything wrong. I should have started it with, “If is it proven that these people are guilty of what they are being accused of…”

          I am in no way suggesting that we slander these people if they have not done anything wrong. Obviously, they deserve a fair chance to do their jobs honestly and we need to give them that chance before we suggest otherwise.

          I just wanted to clarify my stance.

          • Lindsay on February 8, 2010 at 6:49 pm

            Understood 😉 I was actually just going to start with a round of phone calls or in-office visits to see what they have to say if anything. I’m guessing most will give me the boot or hang up but its worth a shot

        • Concerned too on February 8, 2010 at 7:38 pm

          Yes, the silent treatment has gone on to long. I agree with Lindsay.

    • Karma on February 19, 2010 at 7:19 am

      YHB still administers CHS & Fox’s 401k plan…sounds like that BOD member is making a pretty penny off of CHS just like Chris White and all the others.

  27. something fishy on February 11, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    I just recieved a notice for fosterings for 6 dogs as 3 cats. Is it me or does this seem like an awful lot of animals put up for fostering all at once?

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on February 11, 2010 at 9:13 pm

      Yep, got the same email….and this IS a lot of foster animals….and a lot of dogs which is rare. Could this be proving what we have been saying all along, the staff has no time to take care of these animals.

    • Lindsay on February 11, 2010 at 9:37 pm

      I think Joanne had me removed from the foster list long ago, probably with a little help from Kitty. Do they tell you what the potential issues are with the animals they want fostered? Like do they offer them up to anyone who wants to take a stab at it or are they at least dividing them up and considering each individual foster home and their ability and background so no one gets in over their head?

      • something fishy on February 12, 2010 at 3:59 am

        3dogs with demodex skin conditon
        1 dog is ove weight and needs diet management & montoring
        1, a yorkie mix, anxiety & housebreaking issues
        2, 7 week old pit pups
        2 momma cats with kittens
        I don’t know if all foster parents are getting the e-mail

  28. Greyhound lover on April 20, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    So the corruption and crimes against animals still continue at the CHS. Insiders report management is back to their old ways…being bullies and distorting the true mission of the society. What people don’t realize is that Dick Johnston may be gone, but the place is still run by his toadies. These unqualified managers, BOD members-esp the rotten chairman, and executives are the ones calling the shots. Don’t forget Dick hired these people because they would do whatever he said without question, they have no morals or true understanding or concern of what animal care really means. Not to mention they aided and abetted Dick in illegal practices! What is going on here? This is still allowed to happen? Not to mention the new chairmen of the BOD lies to the public on a constant basis.
    The behaviorist, if you can even call her that, has a breed bias. She openly stated that all labs are stupid dogs, plain and simple. She does not like herding breeds at all. She loves pitbulls…that’s about it. Currently she spends ALL her time with a pitbull named Bam Bam that has a bite history. He can’t even be placed through the society due to policy regarding bite history. While there are great dogs like Brady, who are not pitbulls, rotting away in the shelter. Brady has dog aggression…and they want to place him through a rescue. Can you believe that the richest animal organization in the state is looking for some tiny rescue to absorb the financial and behavioral implications this “dog aggressive” canine may incurr. They are unwilling to work with the dog, pay for it’s care, and place it for adoption themselves. The behaviorist does not have time for Brady because…A) he is not a pittbull B) She spends her day working with Bam Bam, a dog with a bite history. Dogs who have bite histories are usually euthanized at CHS. I am not wishing harm on pitbulls, but what goes for pitbulls should then be the standards for all dogs. And finally C) she is too busy trainging dogs to ride skateboards in the hall and watching YouTube than to work with the wonderful begaviorally challenged dogs that aren’t pitbulls at the shelter…Oh and we can’t forget euthanizing dogs after hours so as not to alert the staff…
    People please, do you see what’s going on here? Demand answers, help the coalition expose these crimes, and for pete’s sake don’t listen to Chris Whites lies.

c-hit logo