Society problems

The new director of the Humane Society faces a deluge of problems and complaints

Christine Cahill, the third person this year to lead the Pike County Humane Society, spoke to members about the issues she has encountered so far.

Then, after just four weeks on the job, she suffered a barrage of complaints and accusations.

Cahill said the Humane Society failed its November 17 inspection of the kennel because board member Janet Heim denied access to the trailer she occupies on Humane Society property.

She said it was a violation to block the entrance to any building on the shelter’s property where animals reside, Cahill said. She said the humane society “will automatically fail its next inspection if Janet Heim refuses entry, and the shelter will lose the wanderer/detained designation and may be closed with a fine of up to $20,000.”

(Members voted that night to remove Heim from the board, and she is expected to leave the ownership of the human company. See the related article for more information.)

The ongoing problem of sick cats continues, Cahill said, because cats simply don’t have enough space. Each cat should be 18 square feet, she says, but the shelter’s 33 cats now only have 9.9 square feet each. She said vets told her that in such conditions, cats continuously transmit viruses back and forth. She said she started grooming all the cats in an effort to prevent illness.

Cahill said she found an abundance of expired medication, some dating back to 2014. She filled three trash cans with expired medication, contaminated food, unsalvageable kitty litter and other trash, with much more to sort, said she declared.

She said euthanasia is out of control at the shelter, with far too much compared to the animal population. The Pike County Humane Society is designated as a murder-free shelter with a 90% placement rate, which Cahill says is not happening.

The dog sitter reported that 11 dogs are not up to date on rabies/distemper vaccinations, while the status of the 20-25 dogs that Janet Heim keeps at her residence remains unknown.

On the positive side, Cahill said she was forging new relationships with Shohola and Milford veterinarians, fixing IT issues and working to connect the Humane Society’s Instagram page to her Facebook page. She purchased supplies requested by staff members, collected donations, and had door locks changed and cameras installed with new doors.

New volunteers submit applications. New employee and volunteer handbooks — along with leave applications, cleaning/sanitizing protocols, intake and mediation processes, and community services documentation — are coming next, Cahill said.

She thanked Humane Society workers Andrew and Matt for painting the kennel doors.

Then the attacks started. As at other Humane Society meetings held over the past year, people raised their voices as they broadly addressed a host of issues. But Cahill succeeded, answering all their questions.

In her initial report, Cahill said that on the first day, Tom Jensen asked her “belligerently” who she thought she was and yelled at her in front of the dog guards. He only left after she called the police. Jensen denied any wrongdoing or creating any problems.

Cahill made it clear that Jensen would not return.