Today, we continue yesterday’s article by Judi Basolo about an adoption from the Okefenokee Humane Society that went terribly wrong. This is the second of two parts. Read part 1 here.
Never expecting to find Eve in this unhealthy condition, both Jody and new kitten mom Terry announced Eves journey via Facebook and Catster.com, initially spreading the news that Eve was no longer at the high-kill Georgia shelter and would be flying soon to her forever home, even though the cost was exorbitant. Instantaneously, donations poured in to assist Eve in her journey in Minnesota.
Almost $900 was raised within days, Terry conveyed and all via the two social network pages the women maintain. And while compassionate comments flowed thru the internet everybody was cheering Eve on to get healthy and then to get from the foster home to her Furever home, followers began a Believe in Eve campaign and word spread of the kittens unhealthy plight while donations continued to be given.
A generous donor even gave a travel voucher allowing a person to fly with Eve to Minnesota from North Carolina. Abundant travel advice, care, concern and donations continued to pour in via the social networks while global cheers were raised that Eve was heading to a loving home.
On January 2nd Eve was rushed to intensive care and close to midnight, the Vet declared her young lungs were filling with fluid while there was no chance for her recovery. This tiny handful of fur was not only semi-blind, could not walk, was malnourished, unable to eat on her own … and dying. The decision was made to put Eve out of misery a decision that was not without repercussion as the news spread on Catster and Facebook.
Since that poignant evening, its been discovered that the Okefenokee Humane Society just may not be such a humane group. Theyre not only abusing the animals, but may be abusing funds as well. News articles abound on the Internet regarding their last Executive Director, Lori Hartman, who reportedly was fired for charging $8,500 on the non-profits account. Most of the charges cannot be validated including a $2,500 charge for new flooring; the Shelter says they don’t have new flooring. According to Jody and Danny Butler who visited, the dogs were laying on dirt in pens, not on new flooring.
The organization has also been late with IRS payments and personal checks have been written to the Executive Director and her family members for bookkeeping services. According to records, she was dismissed in October 2009.
Ms Hartman is just one of the numerous past Directors of this shelter who have purportedly misappropriated funding or mismanaged operations. While the mishaps have caused shelter services to be cut intermittently, this also be causing permanent long-term damage to the animals who are housed or caged in inhumane conditions waiting patiently for adoptive homes.
A tiny semi-blind kitten has caused serious global discussions to surface: should the misdirection of funds or lack of appropriate direction warrant animals being forced to live within the in-humane conditions this or any purported humane shelter is offering not advertising but definitely offering. The Facebook page for Okefenokee Humane Society is a dichotomy to their actual operation showing posts attesting to their miraculous shelter, pets needing homes and unending rescues or even the weekly time stamped dates of future euthanizing.
They want to communicate, yet when one becomes a FAN of their page, and comments, the comments are hidden hence only the selected posts with positive comments are allowed to be shown on their Facebook page. People are questioning what they might they not want the world to know?
I dont know if theyre NOT doing the best they can do but they could obviously be doing better than theyre doing comments Jodys husband Danny who accompanied her on this horrific journey.
Sorrowfully, little Eve died right before New Years Day, but her short life was definitely not in vain nor was this 3 pound 7 months old kitten an unknown throughout the world its a huge legacy for a small creature who couldnt see or walk. And since her demise, it has surfaced that abundant reports are being filed, requesting investigations of Georgias Department of Agriculture into the Okefenokee Humane Society. The most common post: who ever heard of an Inhumane Humane Society?
Its no new news that all animal shelters in the nation are at 100% occupancy in these taxing economic times and as pathetic as it is, its true – people are dropping their former furry family members on highway roadsides, stuffing them in mail boxes and yet many are surrendering their pets the proper way to the shelters. Albeit there is no excuse for inhumane treatment at a registered and licensed Humane Society that is approved to care for pets whove lost their homes and assuredly lost those theyve given the unconditional love to. And now theyve lost the right to decency and humane treatment.
These creatures whose lives are in turmoil to begin with, dont deserve abusive conditions as interim housing, and somehow, decency should prevail while the animal rescue org Executive Directors and their respective Board members should be held socially responsible and legally liable for providing decent, clean, basic care the care that connotes the word Humane.
What is the solution to monitor the Humane Societies of our nation, to alleviate these horrific conditions and pathetic situations that domestic and feral pets incur? These pets have no voice — so humans become their voices and people are speaking out on their behalf. A tsunami of supporters are on board riding the waves to help. The pets in the Okefenokee Humane Society are the family members whove lost their families, lost their hope, have no reason to give their unconditional love any longer, and their tiny hearts ache while ours should be aching for them.
Distraught over watching Eves four day demise, North Carolina resident and Jodys husband, Danny Butler said In my mind when you think of a Humane Society it has a better level than a pound which means in three to four days the pet will be put down a Humane Society means youre getting a better level. IF there is wrong doing at Okefenokee Humane Society, then I want to see it corrected if thats what happened.
In hind sight, Eve should never have suffered for any amount of time, let alone all 7 months of her life in a cage at the Okefenokee Humane Society without anyone tending to her medical needs or noticing her increasing malnutrition. Most likely, she never received a warm humane hug.
When asked if they would you do this again, Jody laughingly said Were doing this again! noting theyre currently trolling the transportation rescue railroad trying to adopt for someone, a 10 year blind male cat theyve named “stEVEn”- in honor of Eve, The senior cat is now at a pound in Newnan Georgia and if all goes well theyll get him safely into a “forever” home and a humane life.
Join the BeliEVE in Eve group on Facebook.
ABOUT JUDI BASOLO: Judi is best known as the crazy cat lady mom to Guido the Italian Kitty (and Yolo and Baci, too). She’s a member of the Cat Writer’s Association and makes her home in San Francisco.