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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : local May 2, 2016

8/31/2014 7:40:00 AM
Humane Society struggles with inconsistent management of shelter
Interim manager Jay Murphy gives one of the 50 dogs currently at the Cottonwood Humane Society a treat on Saturday. VVN/Vyto Starinskas
Interim manager Jay Murphy gives one of the 50 dogs currently at the Cottonwood Humane Society a treat on Saturday. VVN/Vyto Starinskas
Wanda Carlon brushes Boss, one of 50 dogs currently at the Cottonwood Humane Society, on Saturday. Volunteers spend time with animals to give them more human contact. VVN/Vyto Starinskas
Wanda Carlon brushes Boss, one of 50 dogs currently at the Cottonwood Humane Society, on Saturday. Volunteers spend time with animals to give them more human contact. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

Yvonne Gonzalez
Staff Reporter

COTTONWOOD -- Funding and personnel issues continue to be the Verde Valley Humane Society's main hurdles, said incoming president Charlotte Chase.

The society board voted on a new president Friday night, a leadership switch that Chase said goes into effect in early September.

The society closed out the 2011-2012 fiscal year with a $92,200 deficit, but ended the following year with just under $10,000 left after expenses, according to tax documents.

Chase said the society is, however, in dire need of donations this year.

"Funding is always something of a struggle and challenge to keep the place running," she said. "We are looking for more volunteers, including volunteer board members."

The shelter is also looking for a new manager. Raina Lee has been out of the position for about a month.

Former volunteer Dana Pantera said she stopped volunteering for the group because of its inexperienced leadership.

Pantera was with the humane society almost five days a week for two years, volunteering time and money to the shelter's cats. She said the organization is "in such a mess right now."

"They need board members, but they need board members who are not there for their own egos, but really and truly want to help the animals," she said. "They need to hire a director who has some experience and knows animals and wants to help."

Chase said they've tried a few different background "formulas" in hiring shelter managers.

"To be perfectly honest, we haven't found the best fit yet," she said.

The shelter needs volunteers to foster pets, and could always use more veterinarian support.

"It's just a variety of things we've been trying to rectify over the last year or so that I've been involved," she said.

Follow the reporter on Twitter @ymgonzal and Instagram @VerdeValleyNews

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, September 8, 2014
Article comment by: two cents

@Why A Shelter?
Why do we have hospitals or jails? We should just euthanize every living thing that is no longer wanted or useful.

Why does this world have people like you? Remember you are also an animal.

Posted: Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Article comment by: How ? ????

I keep reading about the debt left at the shelter after Sessoms left. It was first reported to be $70K and is now reported to be $90K. HOW ? When Sessoms left, the group inheireted a beautiful new building that was PAID IN FULL. and the only debt was the current operating expenses. Almost immediately they discontinued a service that is definitely needed by the community . Not only a NEEDED service, it was one that was profitable. Now, a person must pay over $200 to have their sick animal euthanized and cremated. Only the rich have that money readily available. Why was this service discontinued ?
I think too many people are too quick to blurt out garbage when they do not have the facts.

Posted: Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Article comment by: Adam Prosser

It is very sad to see the situation that the shelter is in and one can't help but feel as a part of this community that their has to be more that we all can do. Unfortunately the current situation that the shelter is in now is not one that hasn't been trying to be fixd be the previous shelter president Grace Lahr. Grace did everything and anything she could to help the shelter regain some footing with the community and turn it around. The shelter now is in a far better place than it was a year ago thanks mostly to the selfless voulenterrs who put themselves aside and thought first of the animals that are housed there. Grace is no exception to this in fact she is the best example of great leadership I know. She doesn't just talk the talk she walks it also. She has donated countless hours of herself and resources over the last year as president. She also is a business owner in this community and has received countless accolades and recognition for being the best of the best. The Taco Bell that Grace owns is here in Cottonwood and has been for 26 years last week . I only make these points to make sure that credit is given most certainly where it is deserved. It is not fair to look at the shelter and where it is and call it a failure because of it's now current lack of leadership. The shelter had a great leader and chose not to take the direction she has been giving over the last 6 weeks when she announced that she would be stepping down. We should all be grateful and thankful to the work that her and wonderful voulenterrs have done over the last year. Had it not been for them and there hard work and dedication the shelter would certainly have closed.

Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014
Article comment by: Why A Shelter?

Why do we need a shelter. Wouldn't it be more convenient and cost effective to humanly euthanize these animals?

Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014
Article comment by: Tessa Unwin

It's unfortunate that quarreling board members chose to go to the press instead of resolve their issues. As for Dana Pantera, to quote someone like that in the article, rather than all the volunteers portrayed in the photos, is irresponsible. As a volunteer, I report to my shift at a shelter that is vibrant, clean and happy. I respect the board for the tough job they do, especially outgoing President Grace Lahr (not mentioned) who brought us from deep debt to solvency. We do need volunteers and responsible board members. Join us!

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