Animal advocates list concerns with Brown County Humane Society
To the editor:
The primary purpose of any animal rescue or humane society is about the animals. They strive to find good homes for unwanted or homeless animals. In doing so, the humane society needs to be organized and well-run so that it has the confidence and support of the general public, since it depends on the public for volunteers and donations. We feel there are important challenges facing the leadership of our local Brown County Humane Society that are preventing it from being the best it can be. We are particularly concerned about: (1) transparency, (2) public relations, (3) care of the animals, and (4) financial stability.
Transparency: BCHS needs to share information with their supporters and general public. For a number of years members received a quarterly newsletter with information regarding number of year-to-date adoptions and upcoming activities and events. The success of fundraisers was also shared on Facebook, informing the public how many funds were raised at a particular event, and a detailed financial report was shared at the annual meeting. If the public is expected to contribute financially or provide volunteers, the public must be kept aware of what is happening with the organization and its financial health. The rules, regulations, and bylaws of the organization must be strictly followed so that members have the opportunity to confirm or select members of the Board of Directors and their officers.
Public Relations: Public relations are especially important to the success of a nonprofit. People should never feel they were treated rudely or cruelly either in person or on the phone. Unfortunately, there are numerous stories circulating throughout the community of rude treatment and this has not been addressed by leadership. This needs to stop. Also, relations with organizations and businesses that work with the humane society are especially important as well and should never be publically criticized. A large number of experienced, dedicated volunteers have left BCHS and taken their talents to other rescue organizations.
Care of the Animals: The humane society has some dedicated volunteers that provide excellent care. It is critical that BCHS maintains a good working relationship with New Ulm’s animal control so that proper procedure is followed with stray animals found within the city limits. Since the humane society wants to find loving homes for animals that come under their care, awareness of the available animals for adoption through Petfinder, Facebook, and the classified ads in The Journal needs to be constantly kept current.
Financial Stability: Money is absolutely necessary for the operation of BCHS. Since adoption fees by themselves do not adequately fund the operation, fundraisers, donations, and possible grants are very important to the operation. This takes a considerable organized effort. Press releases, ads, flyers, and Facebook notifications of upcoming events must be done in a timely manner so that the public is aware far enough in advance to make arrangements to contribute or participate. All required financial reporting must be done on a timely basis, especially to both the IRS and the MN Attorney General.
A situation occurred where fundraising was done by BCHS when the Attorney General’s office did not have all the proper forms. A number of former contributors have discontinued donating and there is at least one report of a supporter changing their will bequest to BCHS.
Because of these concerns and several additional concerns we would like to see a change in the current board of directors. With some restructuring and revamping, we want to make BCHS the go-to shelter of the area. If you have any questions or would like to help get involved, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.