When I’ve posted in past about Paws to the Rescue (PTTR), the group contracted to run the Marion Co pound in SC, it’s been like ringing the troll dinner bell, an hour late. The reason I’ve posted about them in past is because the group appeared to have serious transparency issues, which is always a red flag for me, as well as some dubious policies in place. And the group’s defenders
talked attacked in circular gibberish while leaving so much virtual spittle. So much.
PTTR reportedly took in more than $200,000 in the first six months of 2014. But when the county requested an audit last year, the group failed to produce one. And when the county asked a second time, giving a January 15, 2015 deadline, PTTR again failed to comply with the audit. The county finally kicked PTTR to the curb:
As of 11 a.m. Thursday, Marion County took over the operation of the Marion County Animal Shelter and terminated its partnership with Paws to the Rescue to run the shelter, according to Tim Harper, the Marion County Administrator.
The shelter will be closed to the public until Jan. 20 while the county inventories supplies and equipment, and conducts an evaluation of the animals and records, Harper said.
An attorney for PTTR issued a statement calling the county’s actions “illegal” and “reckless” and stating the the lives of the animals in the shelter are now at risk.
PTTR has its usual array of excuses and chatter which appears designed to distract and confuse, including this letter from director Jen Nall, dated January 10, in which she states:
PTTR receives an operational stipend of $53,000 per year from Marion County. This is certainly not all the money we receive, and I never intended to imply that it was. We are also very grateful for our private donors, corporate donors,monies raised from adoption fees, and in-kind donations of food and supplies.
Compare that with this 2012 Facebook post from Kristin Kucsma, an economist affiliated with PTTR:
The County of Marion provides Paws to the Rescue (PTTR), the 501(c)(3) organization that manages the shelter, $53,000 per year to run the shelter. The shelter took in approximately 3,000 dogs in 2011. That breaks down to $18 per dog – not $18 per dog per day – $18 per dog PERIOD.
Although this is just one of the many concerns raised by donors and animal lovers regarding PTTR, it gives you an idea of the kind of trouble that’s been brewing. And it underscores the importance of a publicly available audit, beyond the normal financial transparency standards to which all shelters should adhere.
To be clear, the county taking over pound operations is likely not an improvement, although possibly for different reasons. The pound made national news in 2008 due to a state senator receiving special treatment when adopting a dog then abandoning her after he’d allowed her to become pregnant while roaming loose. The poor conditions at the pound were on display and the county sought a private group to take over operations. Enter PTTR and the ensuing years of controversy. I
wonder fear what’s next for the lost and homeless animals of Marion Co.
Trolls, start your engines.
(Thanks Lisa for the links.)