Ct Atty Gen Investigating Conn Humane Society

January 7, 2010

Copyright © 2010, CtWatchdog.com

Ct Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said tonight that he has begun an investigation into allegations of improprieties at the Connecticut Humane Society based on written statements from two former workers I provided to his office.

In a telephone interview, Blumenthal said his office in the past had looked into reports of financial wrongdoing, but the allegations could not be proven.

The two statement from fired workers were the first written, on-the-record allegations Blumenthal said his office had received about Richard Johnston’s activities. Johnston is both the director of the Humane Society and the president of its board of directors.

Blumenthal said any present or former employees of the multimillion dollar a year charity with information about wrongdoings can contact his office on a confidential basis. They should ask to speak to Assistant Attorney General Gary Hawes, who is heading the investigation.

In written statements given to me by the two former workers – one a financial assistant, the other a manager – they accuse 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.

Johnston, who has headed 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.

“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.”

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58 Responses to Ct Atty Gen Investigating Conn Humane Society

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  2. From Everyone on January 7, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    The Truth Shall Set You Free!

  3. Ivona on January 7, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    All complaints to the Attorney General are CONFIDENTIAL as you can see written in George’s article. Please everyone, be brave! Step forward for what is right! We don’t need some of you, we need ALL of you!

  4. Concerned Citizen on January 7, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Well, it is about time. I am not an employee of CHS, but a concerned friend of the impacted workers. I personally called the AG’s office the day of the firings to express extreme concern that employees could be terminated for trying to organize a union, which is a federally protected right of any employee and citizen. The AG’s office patched me through to a staff attorney who basically told me to get lost. Needless to say I was very frustrated with the lack of concern and response from the AG’s office. Mr. Blumenthal absolutely needs to step in here and go through the CHS books and employee treatment with a fine tooth comb. He should also take a very close look at the nepotistic relationships the Board of Directors has with the CHS. Shame on the BOD for letting Richard Johnston have as much control and abuse of power over the employees there. CHS is a great organization with very talented employees who truly care and believe in what they are doing. Time to cycle the BOD and time to appoint a new President. Additionally, the current PR Director, Finance Director and HR Director need to be dismissed as well, they too are part of the problem. Thank you George for looking out for the hard working citizens of Connecticut, they deserve better.

  5. uberVU - social comments on January 7, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

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  6. NS on January 7, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Let justice be served! Help make things right for the people and animals that truely deserve it!

  7. Karma on January 7, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Calling all volunteers and employees, former and present, please send info to the Attorney General. As mentioned before he is keeping it confidential to the investigation. You are now FINALLY safe!
    Also, don’t forget to mention those higher ups that do Dick Johnston’s bidding for him and have allowed, aided, and abetted in these crimes against innocent animals and staff. Shame, shame, shame on you Mr. CFO, Ms. Executive Assistant to the Pres, and Ms. PR Director…This investigation will bring all of your crimes to light.
    Lies and deceit can only bring you misery in the end. There is a thing called karma and your time has come.

  8. James on January 7, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    And while it is a relatively minor point in the larger scheme of things, it is perhaps a telling one that shortly after the three right-before-Christmas firings, CHS deleted both its Facebook and Twitter pages, depriving perhaps up to 2400 individuals and groups interested in the welfare of animals from the updates they had come to expect and rely on. Frankly, in my opinion, I cannot see how this can be good for their mission. For more on this particular concern, see http://bit.ly/8r05M6

    • James on January 7, 2010 at 10:54 pm

      Sorry, as was pointed out to me a bit ago, it might help to mention that the link referenced above is to a Facebook group asking “Where did Connecticut Humane Society Go?” as an effort to get a response from Richard Johnston as to the disappearance of their Facebook and Twitter pages. The full link is http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&ref=search&gid=266424597288

  9. Former Employee on January 7, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    I am also a former employee of CT Humane. I wasn’t fired from the organization, but chose to leave after only a few months when I realized what a toxic atmosphere Richard Johnston has created for employees.

    Staff are afraid to express their opinions and creativity is stifled. Good, hardworking people are subject to rude and abusive treatment and, ultimately, qualified staff members leave because they won’t tolerate the abuse. In addition, unlike most larger animal welfare organizations, staff at CT Humane aren’t encouraged to network with staff at other organizations (such as the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators) and because of that can not learn from other organizations or implement best practices.

    CT Humane can do so much more and deserves a fresh start.

  10. Yet another former on January 7, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    As another former worker, I was physically sickened when I became more aware of the euthanasia policy being abused. A large mastiff was brought in by a family, they could no longer care for the animal. CHS took the dog in, that same day the neighbors of THAT family came in and asked to take the dog. They were told the dog has not been tested and put up for adoption yet so they could not adopt the dog. They filled out an application on that dog, called about that dog repeatedly….the dog was deemed food bowl aggressive and was euthanised. The dog could have been turned over to this family who arleady were familiar iwth him but instead CHS terminated his life. Maybe just maybe the dog was not comfortable around strangers with his food but might have just might have been fine around those nice people who wanted to take him to their warm cozy house. Instead of making it a great happy ending for both families and the dog….we ended the dog’s life. Needless to say, I didn’t last long after that, I had to walk away!

    • Robyn Sun on January 7, 2010 at 9:49 pm

      It’s so unfortunate that this happens more than the public realizes. The people who do the testing, food bowl in particular, do not know what they are doing. These animals are frightened. They are away from their people in a strange place with many different scents. Then they are taken into a small area with no windows. A bowl of food, that has been eaten out of by other dogs that have been tested, is set down in front of them. Then a plastic hand that is covered with old food & scents of other dogs is put into their food bowl. It’s no wonder that a dog freezes, growls or snaps at the hand. It’s frightening to them. Many tears have been shed and pleaded to take these dogs that “failed” out of of the shelter to work with them. A few lucky ones were granted our wishes; many not so lucky. It’s WRONG! It was just too difficult seeing this on a regular basis …. Please stop the insanity. Thanks to those who have come forward. Bless you all!

      • Victoria Andreo on January 8, 2010 at 8:12 am

        They set them up for failure. Prior to food bowl aggression testing….one dog was not fed for two days. Let’s hope that a new beginning is just around the corner.

      • Shock & Awe on January 9, 2010 at 3:27 am

        Thank you for your passionate posting, Robyn. I agree with you that conducting behavior assessments on dogs which have recently been admitted to shelters is not ideal. However, a responsible organization must conduct such assessments with the the safety of the public in mind. In order to continue accepting dogs while at the same time providing healthy/safe dogs – be it from the public, municipal shelters, or Southern states: a shelter must determine what can reasonably and safely be placed back into the community. It’s sad, but it’s a reality.

        In a perfect world, all dogs surrendered to a shelter would be re-homed. In the real world (especially a litigious one) shelters which do not perform objective behavioral assessments are setting themselves up for lawsuits and bankruptcy.

        The best and most well renowned animal welfare agencies in the country make decisions on adaptability based (in part) on behavior assessments. To ignore or excuse behavior is to defraud the members of the public who come to these organizations in search of a safe, well adjusted member of their families.

        The problem is that the decisions regarding behavior at CHS have been left in the hands of irrational, undereducated individuals who rely on antiquated methods, but who tout themselves as “experts.” The blame for this lies solely at the feet of Richard Johnston for appointing these people to their positions without ever bothering to take note of the industry standard, or offering to provide them with further education. At this point, their behavior assessments are more religion than science.

  11. From Everyone on January 8, 2010 at 12:11 am

    After the union was voted in, a team leader coming out of a meeting with
    Richard was heard saying that the employees were being selfish and just
    wanted more money. I just have to say that I’ve been there for over 8 years
    I started @ 9.00 an hour. My wage is 10.68 an hour now. So, I say to you,
    Trust me when I tell you, It is NOT about the money!

    • Shock & Awe on January 9, 2010 at 2:29 am

      This is also true. Employees at CHS are lucky to see a 3% raise in the best of years, without regard to their performance or time served. These people toil under highly emotional circumstances year after year for a pittance. Shame on Richard Johnston and the BOD for refusing to provide its dedicated, longtime workers with a wage they can live on!

  12. Agilitydog on January 8, 2010 at 9:25 am

    I am not an employee but add me to the list of those disgusted with CHS. They import so many dogs from Southern States that they never have room for our local CT dogs that need help and turn most away. They also receive huge amounts of money from supporters and the Gov but the free Spay and Neuter clinic that they were supposed to implement still has not come to fruition after years. The adoption procedures are quite arbitrary and in some cases abusive and when I adopted a GSD I was told by a so called counselor that “You”l lnever be able to handle him and you’ll bring him back”. Well he passed away 12 years later form cancer after a long happy life with me. Their dog training classes are a joke. When I attended that trainer was disorganized and clearly under the influence. The class was pure chaos and I dropped out and found a REAL class elsewhere. My dog rescue friends know that high euth rates their but most people around here believe they are no kill. NOT! They euth a lost of animals. Support your local pound and ditch the CHS!

  13. Agilitydog on January 8, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I am not an employee but add me to the list of those disgusted with CHS. They import so many dogs from Southern States that they never have room for our local CT dogs that need help and turn most away. They also receive huge amounts of money from supporters and the Gov but the free Spay and Neuter clinic that they were supposed to implement still has not come to fruition after years. The adoption procedures are quite arbitrary and in some cases abusive and when I adopted a GSD I was told by a so called counselor that “You’ll never be able to handle him and you’ll bring him back”. Well he passed away 12 years later form cancer after a long happy life with me. Their dog training classes are a joke. When I attended that trainer was disorganized and clearly under the influence. The class was pure chaos and I dropped out and found a REAL class elsewhere. My dog rescue friends know that high euth rates there but most people around here believe that they are no kill. NOT! They euth a lost of animals. Support your local pound and ditch the CHS!

    • KnowTheTruth on January 8, 2010 at 10:12 am

      I don’t believe “ditching” an animal shelter is the answer. New leadership is what is needed. As I have said before, this is not a smear campaign against CHS, it is about bringing down the President and the management staff. Starting fresh with honest caring leadership can and will ensure that the CHS is the shelter it is supposed to be. It is a spacious facility with much potential – to suggest “ditching” it is a little extreme in my opinion.

    • cusomer on January 20, 2010 at 9:10 am

      Please do not insult the dog trainers. I took my dog to classes there an adopted a dog from there, and probably would have returned the dog if it were not for this Trainer that was there for me every time I needed her. My dog had multiple problems at 7mths old.
      She helped me with many issues. Pet Education and Therapy does all classes there and should not be part off this. It is okay to have your opinions but if you do not know the “current trainers” then you should not insult them.
      I still have my dog (3 years now) and did not have to give her back thanks to the response of the trainer, Jackie.
      She is a version of Victoria Stillwell. Just blonde.

      • Also a Volunteer on January 20, 2010 at 11:44 am

        I agree with you. I had great success with their training classes as well! Completely irrelevant to the subject at hand though. This isn’t about training classes. Just felt the need to defend them.

  14. Concerned Donor on January 8, 2010 at 11:32 am

    As a long time donor to the organization, these allegations are appauling. If I had any idea what type of organization I was donating money to…I would have given my money to another, more ethical group who truly puts the animals first. Yet, with that in mind, I don’t think turning our back on the CHS is the answer. We need a complete change in the leadership of the CHS to turn this situation around and provide better outcomes. I am looking forward to seeing a resolution to this matter and reinstitute my financial commitment.

    • Mer on January 8, 2010 at 1:30 pm

      Please don’t think all donations are wasted or misappropriated. The CHS (employees) depend on everything they get from the public (when they get it). The CHS has tremendous potential and infrastructure to be the charity it claims to be. The removal of a few key people will allow the organization to again flourish and care for all animals.

      Please don’t let the reprehensible behavior of a few people sour your opinion on the entire entity. The animal staff are abused and underpaid and yet they show up every day, starting fresh, to love and take care of these animals. They open their homes to fostering. They save most of them from euthanasia. They give up their weekends and holidays (last year Richard even forbade all employees from taking Easter Sunday as a vacation day). And they suffer.

      Many adoptions are better sweet. When you’ve been working with a dog for months you want him to go to a forever home, but you miss him. Imagine how heartbreaking it is to lose a beloved pet and now imagine having to do that every week. And those are the good days. They too often see the cruelty achieved by man. Don’t have these employees sacrifice in vain simply because Richard lacks basic common decency.

      • KnowTheTruth on January 8, 2010 at 2:14 pm

        Thank you for posting that Mer. While I can understand if people are tentative about donating their money right now, I don’t want anyone to be deterred from adopting a pet from them. These animals are innocent in this and still need homes.

        • Linda on January 8, 2010 at 3:00 pm

          I agree – the animals still need our help. Hopefully this will all be fixed and CHS will become the place it always should have been. Please still think of adopting from them, you are still saving an animal’s life if you do.

          • Victoria Andreo on January 9, 2010 at 9:00 am

            “He who spares the guilty, threatens the innocent” ~Legal Maxim

            ADOPT…. DON’T SHOP…and don’t let the sins of one man punish the innocent.

      • H. on January 8, 2010 at 7:12 pm

        “The CHS has tremendous potential and infrastructure to be the charity it claims to be. The removal of a few key people will allow the organization to again flourish and care for all animals.”

        YES! Exactly, Mer! I quoted this for emphasis! It bears repeating!

  15. chsvol on January 8, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    As a current CHS volunteer I do urge the public to continue the support of the employees (and animals) of CT Humane. Day in and out, the employees feed, clean, care and work with the animals in hopes of a forever family coming to adopt. I am proud of the CHS Westport “family,” and although this investigation is necessary and a change for the better would be wonderful, there are still animals in need.

  16. It's about time! on January 8, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    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 provides 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.

  17. Big Money on January 8, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    It should be noted too that on the Guidestar listing, Richard Johnston does not include the salary he pulls in from the CHS-owned Fox Memorial Clinic. People should not be misled that he is only paid the $57,000 or so listed for the CT Humane Society. He is pulling income from other CHS assets.

    • concerned citizen on January 8, 2010 at 10:05 pm

      Kind of reminds you of Andy Fastow, the former CFO of ENRON. He was able to cook the books a million ways to sunday and reap the rewards. Obviously, RJ is only minor leagues, still Execs. like this need true oversight. CHS BOD does not provide any oversight into RJ’s activities, heck a couple of them actually own firms that do businesss with CHS. How is that for strange bedfellows.

      Riddle me this batman? Why doesn’t CHS publish an Annual Report. I know, I know they are a not-for-profit and not required to expose financial statements. Still…and heck, the ASPCA and other nfp’s let you know what is going on, what they have accomplished and how YOUR donations are being used. See Page 44 “Financial Statements”. And like other nfp’s, they thank their donors. http://www.aspca.org/about-us/documents/2008_annual_report.pdf

      What does CHS provide? A nice calendar. (which I like BTW and please keep doing)

      Time to “man up” RJ, why don’t you post your Operating Income vs. Expenses for 2009 on the interweb? And be sure the Expense section has plenty of detail and commentary as to how OUR donations are being used for the good of the animals. Do that and perhpas you can vindicate yourself relative to some of this. Not sure what you can do about the other character defects that need to be addressed as well.

    • former employee on January 8, 2010 at 10:34 pm

      I agree with you big money and I don’t believe that chs only is worth 70 million dollars i’m sure there has been a lot of money hidden elsewhere or been used inappropriately.. come on!! richard is an attorney and a former state senator.. corruption is in his blood and he knows the laws…

      • Victoria Andreo on January 9, 2010 at 8:28 am

        “The offspring of riches: pride, vanity, ostentation, arrogance, tyranny”
        ~Mark Twain

  18. Dog owner on January 8, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    The CT Humane Society is a PRIVATE organization that is NOT run by the State of CT. CHS rountinely KILLS dogs because they are hard to keep in a kennel (AKA fence climbers), are ill with treatable disease, and more.

    They routinely transport puppies up here from down South and sell them off just like a pet store does. Puppies from the South are big money makers for Johnston. He is rude and often threatening people with slander and libel. If you work for him or volunteer there, you have liftle choice but to shut your mouth and do what you can for the animals. I’d like to know how many times Johnston as held one of the pets while it was being killed – I bet never. His staff has to do it.

    It is about time this is getting noticed. Too many people wrongly believe that this place is no kill. It is not a no kill shelter. He will not say the truth due to fear that donations will drop off. He is not an honest man or a caring man.

    Get him out of there.

    • H. on January 9, 2010 at 5:38 am

      “CHS routinely KILLS dogs because they are hard to keep in a kennel” sounds a lot like, well… The opposite of the truth. Hey, I’m as sick of Dickey J as you are, but let’s be honest here.

    • Victoria Andreo on January 9, 2010 at 8:19 am

      “The road to tyranny, we must never forget, begins with the destruction of the truth” ~ Bill Clinton

    • Yet another former on January 9, 2010 at 9:02 am

      I have to take exception to this post in parts… While it is true that CHS does bring dogs up from the South, it doesn’t diminish the fact that we have saved thousands of dog’s lives. The laws down there being MUCH different than ours up here makes them highly adoptable and while we do see a litter or two of puppies, we also see MANY labs, hounds and mixed breeds that have adjusted to live up North who would otherwise have lost their lives.

      You are correct however in having little voice or choice in the way the place is run, criticism of policy or procedure will get you written up or in deep doo doo with the higher ups. You are probably correct in saying that he has probably never held a dog PERIOD never mind one about to lose their life to the injection.

      Have you thought about the reason we might not be working with shelters in CT to accept dogs? Perhaps they do not want to work with the tyrannical man? That would be a REAL strong guess on my part……

      • Shock & Awe on January 12, 2010 at 2:25 am

        I agree with “Yet Another..” and “H.” The southern dogs are no different than dogs we have right here in the state. What “Dog Owner” fails to understand is that a result of our years of education combined with spay/neuter, leash laws, licensing, etc. is that we have done our job too well. Very few “safe” dogs are turned over to CT shelters these days, so for the average family, adopting a shelter dog has become a risky venture. Conversely, many of the Southern states are far less progressive which means that countless innocent animals are condemned to death every day. Rather than supporting puppy mills and the many unscrupulous breeders, responsibility dictates that we first make a difference in parts of the country that have yet to make a dent in the overpopulation of otherwise adoptable dogs which die needlessly everyday.

        But that’s a discussion for another day. Let’s focus on the real issue which is the inhumane treatment of CHS employees, the severe staffing deficits which lead to substandard care for the animals, and the apparent mismanagement of funds by Richard Johnston.

        Change will come, but it must come from the top down. Please join us in contacting the A.G.’s office as well as demanding that the BOD for CHS institutes change! Even without criminal prosecution, at some point, the BOD has to realize who is buttering their proverbial bread. Demand change now!!!

  19. Harry P. on January 8, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Mr. J and his team of top managers need to know that the Coalition for Change is growing and the members have no fear. We are not afraid to finally speak out. We are not afraid to fully support each other. We are not afraid of what you may threaten to do to us. And we are no longer afraid to do the ethical and honorable thing. The CT Humane Society is too big and too important for these shameful and inhumane incidents to occur as well as the intimidating and unfair management procedures to continue. It is time for 20 years of darkness to come to an end. The animals and citizens of Connecticut have waited long enough. You can be sure that this is just the beginning….

    • andi on January 9, 2010 at 5:50 pm

      I am proud of you all for standing up. I just really wish our attorney general would find it within himself to deal with Connecticut state corruption in the same aggressive manner he is willing to deal with the Humane Society. While I am grateful you all have found the courage to deal with your issues (and those of the poor helpless animals who need the protection), I am sad to think of state offices who continue to get away with wrongdoing because there is not protection for whistle-blowers.

  20. Yet another former on January 9, 2010 at 8:57 am

    I think it’s very important to know that these employees are to be supported and commended for their efforts. Imagine going to your job making pennies and having to work like a prison inmate, cleaning up cat poo and dog poo and loving that part of it….but being treated like dog poo by your supervisors and the so-called management team. It’s absolutely reprehensible. Thank god for these folks and PLEASE help support them. Don’t diminish what they are doing by “boycotting” the CHS, but rather voice your opinion and help them change the CHS back to the way it’s supposed to be.

  21. Victoria Andreo on January 9, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    I truly hope that past and present employees as well as volunteers, will contact Richard Blumenthal’s office. Remember…..SILENCE IS ACCEPTANCE.

    • Concerned on January 10, 2010 at 3:29 pm

      Everyone who is concerned about this issue should contact the media outlets that are not covering this important story – the Connecticut Bureau of the Associated Press, WTNH news, WTIC news radio, Hartford Courant and other local newspapers, radio and TV stations.

      • Victoria Andreo on January 11, 2010 at 8:10 am

        I sent all of the articles to Bill O’Reilly at Fox news….wouldn’t it be great if they picked op on it. Let’s hope.

  22. Tusken Raider on January 10, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    I used to work for CHS a few years back and I’ll tell you there are alot of problems with that organization and they all stem from Richard Johnston. One of the main issues with the CHS is staff shortage. Richard Johnston only allows enough workers to get the bare minimum done. This means that all the staff has time for is cleaning cages and when they are done with that they are required to maintain the building and assist the public. Because of this the animals get little to no attention from staff and heavily rely on volunteers for this. Some days there are no volunteers. With more staff we would have less euthanasia. Dogs that are going “kennel crazy” or dogs that are fearful would get more attention therefore running less of a risk of getting euthanized. More staff members are needed to help the customers find a pet that is suitable for them. I can’t tell you how many homes have been missed out on due to staff shortages. Richard refuses to use the CHS funds to hire a much needed qualified animal behaviorist or a dog trainer. The positions keep getting past around from employee to employee whether they want to responsibility or not. And forget about being compensated for it. CHS needs a change and it needs to happen soon.

    • frustrated on January 11, 2010 at 11:22 am

      I can agree with the assessment. It’s RIDICULOUS what the staff is expected to do….especially on days with NO volunteers. There IS no time for them to work with the animals that need it the most. Behaviorist…what the heck is that? Haven’t seen one of those in AGES. It’s a TRUE SHAME that small behavioral issues that have solutions can’t get addressed and therefore leads to needless euthanasia. It’s DISGUSTING.

  23. Donna Ploss on January 11, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    The only problem with Blumenthal looking into ANYTHING is getting him to follow through on it.

    I wrote him a letter back in October regarding funds Rell stole from the special plates fund, in particular “Caring for Pets”. In an effort to balance an already sad budget, Rell took $550,000 from funds earmarked for low cost spay/neuter.

    I got absolutely NO reply whatsoever. Not even an acknowledgement that he even received it!!! So, that makes me wonder what kind of Governor he would truly be.

    I ain’t voting for him.

    • Victoria Andreo on January 13, 2010 at 8:07 am

      Let’s not get off the track. Right now Blumenthal is the Atty, Gen. and it is through his office that this investigation must be conducted. One issue at a time.

  24. Dan Picano on January 12, 2010 at 10:22 am

    I’m so glad I get this information ahead of time because I was seriously looking into volunteering at the CHS. I do get their brochures and give donations throughout the year to them. Due to the posts and claims from all of you, I don’t know if I will give any more of my money or time to devote to these animals and I’m not talking about the ones in the cages. I personally want to thank all of you for posting these messages, it puts CHS in a whole new light… However in the future, I’m still going to be in the market for a dog, any suggestions on where to go??

    • KnowTheTruth on January 12, 2010 at 11:02 am

      Dan – please do not punish the good people that work there and the animals that reside there due to the actions of a few bad apples. The CHS has a tremendous amount of good, caring, honest people that work there and care for the animals. I would always recommend people adopt from there, this controversy should not get in the way of homeless animals needing homes. They are still homeless despite the politics going on there. I understand not wanting to donate money, but please do not cripple the adoption chances of the animals that are there. They are innocent victims in this.

    • Lindsay on January 12, 2010 at 11:03 am

      Please don’t disregard the animals here, they need homes as much as any animal out there. None of them asked to be in this situation and with so many employees fired and leaving, the staff is as short as ever to care for them while they wait for homes.

    • H. on January 12, 2010 at 8:12 pm

      Jesus! This is exactly what I’ve been worried about! That people would get wind of this, and be reluctant to donate time/money to CHS. Who is going to suffer? The animals. This is EXACTLY why I never blabbed beforehand. STEP DOWN RICHARD! Your presence is hurting animals in need!

      • Yet another former on January 12, 2010 at 9:41 pm

        EXACTLY and this is how he gains control. The people are proving that even though they worked for a monster, they still went to work day to day and put up with the abuse and mistreatment to carry out their part of the mission statement even though the board and the President and his minions let them down. If you stop the donations and the adoptions then he has won because he brought the organization DOWN to it being non existant and to think of all the animals lives that will be lost…..RETHINK this please!

  25. omd on January 13, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    As a volunteer and person that donates biweekly to CHS…. As much as this entire situation sickens me! Remember that it is only the Top Dogs & his pets that should pay the price. Not the individuals that dont pay enough and suffer that fate of this loser.

  26. Cynthia Georgandis on January 15, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Please keep digging into the matter. The animals deserve it and I would like to know that my donations are being spent on the animals. It’s infuriating to think that my hard earned money may be paying for staff to babysit Mr. Johnston’s daughter or paying for his subscriptions. This is what is wrong with charity groups today…dishonest personnel and no one regulating them. Who TRULY sees to it that the shelter (the building, not the employees) and animals receive monies and donations? Please Mr. Blumenthal, please help these shelters and animals.

  27. Remy Taylor on January 15, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I cannot tell you how disappointed I am to hear that this is happening at the Connecticut Humane Society. As an adamant animal lover and once a volunteer at the Newington facility I am in shock. It is clear that those individuals were terminated out of retaliation and they should seek more information regarding Connecticut’s whistleblower laws. I hope that the donations and volunteering continues regardless of this tragedy because it really truly is more about the animals and their needs. SO PLEASE KEEP THE DONATIONS COMING IN!!!!

  28. Melissa T on January 15, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I hope that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal follows through with this investigation. It is heart breaking to think that someone like Richard Johnston can take advantage of people’s donations and use some of it for his own personal use when all of it should go to the animals and the workers to maintain the non-profit company. We need to stop letting people like this get away with it…It is a time for change people!!! Richard should just resign so the humane society can get back to focus on the animals..They are the ones who are paying for it now and in the long run!

  29. […] “Ct Atty Gen Investigating Conn Humane Society.” By George Gombossy. ctwatchdog.com. January 7, 2010. Ct Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said tonight that he has begun an investigation into allegations of improprieties at the Connecticut Humane Society based on written statements from two former workers I provided to his office. In a telephone interview, Blumenthal said his office in the past had looked into reports of financial wrongdoing, but the allegations could not be proven. The two statement from fired workers were the first written, on-the-record allegations Blumenthal said his office had received about Richard Johnston’s activities. Johnston is both the director of the Humane Society and the president of its board of directors. […]

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