Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Board, New Attitude

After attending the first meeting of the Lakeshore Humane Society’s newly-elected board of directors, I can honestly report that I firmly believe this is the best board the Society has had in years, if not decades.  Not only did the board conduct its discussion in front of an audience of Society members, it actually focused its conversation on the animals…the dogs and cats currently in the Society’s care as well as those who will be in the future.
With nothing on the meeting’s agenda that directly related to animals, the Society’s board members launched into a dialogue about pet adoptions.  After some debate, the board members agreed to reduce the cost of pet adoptions.  Senior citizens will receive a 50 percent discount off of the Society’s adoption fees.
The board also decided to extend an invitation to members of the general public to adopt pets in exchange for reduced fees during the months of December, 2011 and January, 2012.  During this time period, a person can adopt a dog for approximately $70, half off the Society’s usual adoption fee.  During these months, the price of adopting a cat from the Lakeshore Humane Society will be reduced from $95 to $20.12 as well. 
After taking the huge step of adjusting the Society’s adoption fees, the board moved onto another  subject, boarding.  Soon after broaching the subject, the board decided to no longer allow the Society to board animals.  The board continued by dedicating the space formerly used to board animals to the specific use of quarantining dogs when they arrive.  Finally!
The board also formed a desperately needed public relations committee, discussed approaching the county to revisit previously abandoned negotiations, described the seemingly fair numbers included in city contracts and debated what information will be presented to individual cities.  Oh, did I mention that while all of this talk was going on, the board’s members actually made those of us in attendance laugh a time or two?
While I am not naïve enough to think the Lakeshore Humane Society’s board of directors can overcome all of the obstacles it inherited from previous boards in a single year, I am optimistic that the current board can and will undo years of inappropriate, ineffective policy-making and make significant headway in improving the Society’s horrible reputation.  Being a No Kill advocate, I am further encouraged by overhearing one board member ask if they should speak about the life-saving No Kill matrix, even though that was deferred to the closed session.
I invite you to attend the next monthly meeting of the Lakeshore Humane Society’s board of directors so you, too, can witness real, meaningful progress in action.  It’s invigorating to hear board members talk about the reasons they have their positions, the animals, instead of themselves.  
Personally, I can’t wait to attend next month’s meeting.  I’m hoping the conversation includes finding a new Executive Director for the Lakeshore Humane Society!  Join me there to see if it does!

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