The non-profit Peninsula Humane Society is contracted by San Mateo Co in California for animal control. Sixteen PHS employees held a press conference in the shelter’s parking lot this week. The workers allege that sub-standard conditions, understaffing and neglect have led to the injury and death of several animals at the facility.
ACO Dylin Skiles said a dog named Max was recently put into a kennel that had a hole in it:
[I]t had not been fixed despite the fact that we had asked several times.
The workers have video of Max with his head and leg stuck through the hole along with blood beneath the dog. A still from that video:
Lisa Van Buskirk, Sr. VP of Community Engagement with the Peninsula HS, said the kennel did not have a hole in it at the time Max was placed inside:
That dog had recently come in and clearly wanted to get out – was biting at the fence. It did cause his mouth to get scratched up.
That dog. So apparently it was just a mouth scratch and it was the dog’s fault anyway. Got it.
Except the ACO is not having any of it:
“What I saw was a dog that had [his] neck cut,” Animal Control Officer Dylan Skiles said.
Skiles said he requested management inspect all of the kennels weeks before the incident, after a previous incident where a dog was injured trying to escape a broken cage.
The workers further allege that several kittens died in foster care over the summer because they weren’t fed properly. Van Buskirk again defended the shelter stating basically eh, kittens die. But others lived so, where’s the love?
Employees say a dog was oops-killed at the facility last December due to chronic understaffing. Van Buskirk says the employees involved failed to follow proper procedures and were fired.
Another employee reportedly left an overheated dog who had been rescued from a hot car in the back of the animal control truck until he finally died. That ACO was also fired, which appears to be a satisfactory resolution for Van Buskirk, but workers say the lack of air conditioning in the truck has never been addressed.
And then there’s this:
The whistle blowers said they have tried to have a conversation with Ken White, the president of the shelter, but said he has requested meetings without a union representative present.
Van Buskirk said White was on an extended vacation overseas and the timing of the allegations is suspicious considering the group has been in ongoing contract negotiations with the union for more than a year.
Speaking of suspicious, Mr. Extended Overseas Vacation gets paid more than a half million dollars a year to run the non-profit (I mean: non-nudge-nudge-wink-wink-profit). He has reportedly promised improvements to the 60 year old buildings but failed to deliver. To be fair, it’s probably pretty difficult scrounging up motivation to tell someone to fix broken stuff in a CA shelter while sipping drinks on the French Riviera.