Humane Society staffing could present ‘serious hurdle’

Clark County shelter coordinator, others part ways with animal group.

Clark County Humane Society volunteers and county officials are worried about the animal group’s future after recent staff departures.

Even the current interim director has commented that the lack of staffing at the Humane Society could present a “serious hurdle in the immediate future.”

The latest person to leave was Krissi Hawke, the shelter coordinator, who resigned effective this week, according to notes from last week’s board agenda.

Hawke did not want to comment about the board, but she said leaving the Humane Society, 5201 Urbana Road, was a hard decision.

The Humane Society is an independent non-profit not run by a board, not directed by any county government.

But the county contracts the shelter for the dog warden to care for strays and handle the more than 25,000 dog licenses each year, said Clark County Commissioner John Detrick.

“All three commissioners are very concerned down the road that we’re going to have a Humane Society,” he said.

Interim Director Mark Kumpf directed requests for comment to the board chair, who did not return calls.

It is unknown when the board plans to fill Hawke’s and other open positions, including an executive director.

The Humane Society has been operating since August of 2015 without a full-time executive director, according to its website. The group has had two interim directors: one who resigned in December, and currently Mark Kumpf, director of the Animal Resource Center in Montgomery County.

Kumpf has commented on the lack of staff at the kennel, as noted in his May report that is posted on the Humane Society’s website.

“The lack of the additional kennel staff position continues to have a major impact on operations,” Kumpf wrote.

Staff is working six days a week to fill in the gaps, he continued, and burnout could happen.

Hawke was in charge of day-to-day operations, which included photographing animals daily to put on the shelter’s Facebook page for adoption. She recently spearheaded a fundraiser that brought in more than $5,000 in donations, according to board’s records.

Her resignation comes weeks after Kathy O’Connor, the shelter office manager, resigned. The board approved O’Connor’s resignation the same night as Hawke’s.

Two shelter workers were also dismissed from their jobs at the same meeting, according to minutes.

Some volunteers, like Kathy Voytko, worry the loss of Hawke could mean fewer animals are put up for adoption and result in more euthanizations.

“It is at critical level,” Voytko said of the numbers of dogs currently in the kennel.

Hawke ensured that animals were spayed and neutered to be ready for adoption, she said.

Voytko asked, “Do we want to go back to the dark ages where animals are being euthanized because we don’t have shelter space?”

Clark County administrators are currently working with the Humane Society to help with the staffing situation, Detrick said.

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