Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead
Could it be a new day in Canon City at the Humane Society of Fremont County?
Back in September of 2013 I posted my first article about the Humane Society of Fremont County. I was thoroughly convinced that the issue at the shelter was leadership. I was correct, although I thought the board might be unaware of how bad things were. Over the past year, we learned not only was operational leadership incompetent, but the board was also complicit in the shelter’s failings.
But the board, after a year of resisting the community of pet advocates in Canon City has finally been forced to make a significant change. In fact, it was the first major request made by the people who exposed the neglect and cruelty present in the shelter a year ago: Get a new Director.
And so we look forward to the arrival of Mr. Doug Rae. According to the shelter’s web site:
“With experience managing animal shelters in Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Maryland and Phoenix, Rae brings a wealth of animal welfare and leadership experience to the Canon City animal shelter. His background includes managing large, open-admission municipal facilities as well as small, private shelters. Most recently Rae was the executive director of the Animal Rescue League of Southern Rhode Island.”
Experience is good, but as important for shelter management, we have learned from shelters across the nation and Colorado there are key components that keep these managers from getting caught in the status quo style of shelter management. Compassion, hard work, and leadership create shelter environments that save lives and provide good care for homeless pets.
From research it appears Mr. Rae may fit the very important criteria of compassion, hard work and leadership. He has stood up for animals in very difficult situations. I can only assume he will continue to do so. Mr. Rae may be the key change in the HSFC of which all other positive change depends on. Without good leadership, everything else is hard to accomplish.
Mr. Rae has an unprecedented opportunity at the shelter. Because of the work of the banned volunteers, the shelter was brought up to its best physical state to meet regulatory requirements. Management was forced to stop killing homeless pets with cruel procedures, insure minimum stray hold times were adhered to, and physical an administrative infrastructure were improved. He can take over a good physical facility and concentrate on the programs and services that will save lives and care for homeless pets. We hope our work in the past year has afforded him the latitude to quickly implement the policies and procedures that will make the HSFC the best shelter it can be.
I encourage everyone to look at Doug Rae’s entrance to the shelter as a new day.
I am not sure how the board came to the decision of bringing Mr. Rae to Fremont, but a year ago in the post I linked above I said, “Facilitate the change in management Mr. Jenks, I will be the first to applaud you.”
I am terribly disappointed this took a year but that was not a flippant comment. I am encouraged now.
Mr. Jenks, I applaud the hiring of a new executive director to the Humane Society of Fremont County. I wish Mr. Rae the best.
Mr. Rae, there are many others putting hope in your appointment. And many willing and able to provide key aid in the mission of saving lives. Please don’t hesitate to contact them.
And for those who forget how this started, here is what was said when the banned volunteers and their followers exposed the shelter’s poor management and asked for a change:
“We’ve got a group of 6 or 7 disgruntled former volunteers and one former temporary employee with a pretty skewed imagination spreading many, many false stories. The squeaky wheels sure are loud! ….let me absolutely assure you that NONE of those crazy, outlandish cruelty accusations have ANY truth in them WHATSOEVER! These women are having their day, but it won’t last.” -Humane Society of Fremont County Adoption Center Facebook page. August 16 at 8:48am
I think Margaret Mead should be taken more seriously.