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Old 01-21-2012
HARTinTN HARTinTN is offline
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Default Volunteer position

I finally got into a shelter. The one to one side of me has been horribly run for years. The local Humane Society has documentation that animals have been abused and illegally killed and turned copies over to the county who immediately dismissed it and refused to do anything. Well, finally there were so many people locally that had issues that they couldn't dispute it anymore. In a meeting a couple weeks ago he was terminated and the state is investigating him.

As all this mess was going on, the shelter on the other side of me had a rescue that had stepped in last September to help out. They had a 99% euth rate. They didn't have any rescues pulling and people in the community didn't even know the shelter existed. The Director has a heart of gold and will do anything in the world to save them, but his experience and knowledge was kind of limited.

I've worked well with the rescue that was helping and she said she was just too overloaded here to keep helping so I offered to step in. I met with him and the County Executive who I also adore. Both just fantastic guys that really want to do things right. After the yahoos in the other county, it was a fantastic surprise!

They've basically given me the green light to take over the admin side of the shelter. I changed a ton of policies. Met the girl that's been the volunteer for a couple months but starts as a part time employee on Monday. She's been a bit of an issue for them there. She's fantastic with the dogs, but common sense and gut instinct are on vacation............big time! She was about 4 hours late getting to the shelter today and that annoyed me. I hadn't told her I'd be there and I don't think the Director did either so she was pale when she got there.

She came in and immediately noticed the new kennel cards. The others had intake date but no release date. Last week she adopted out a dog that was on a county hold for an abuse case..........to a guy wearing a baseball hat that supports cock fighting. The shelter Director went and got that one back but because there's no application and no contract he couldn't find a legal reason to go get the puppy back from the guy.

Anyway, as soon as she came in and saw the new kennel cards the complaints began. I've got it set up so the dogs on hold have yellow cards. The ones that have rescue commitments or are waiting to go to the vet clinic and then to their adopter have red cards. The ones that have no commitments and their stray hold is up are in green. Simple, right? Well, I guess not because she immediately started to complain and pull cards out.

Got ugly and she demanded to know who gave me the authority to make changes. Told her the Director and the County Executive. She stomped off. She went to the office and asked what the keys on the desk were for. I told her they were the copies Mike asked me to have made so I'd have a copy. Apparently she's wanted keys for a while and has been told no, so there we went again.

The entire day went that way. She argued every single thing I said. Insisted that giving a dog a DAPPv is a treatment for parvo. I tried to explain the difference between preventative medications and treatment but it fell on deaf ears. Tried to tell her that all the bedding chips needed to be taken out of the kennels and the kennels bleached and she argued that it didn't - just need to hose it out and that cleans it. Explained that now there is an application for adoption and I will be screening people (since she so badly blows at it) and she had a fit. Told her the dogs will now go from the shelter to the clinic for full vetting including spay / neuter before adopters can take them home and that the new adoption fees would reflect that. She had a fit and said no one will ever adopt from us. Well, as of last September you were running a 99% euth rate, so it doesn't look like you're getting many adopters anyway, does it?

Shortly thereafter, the guy that adopted the county dog from the abuse case the other day came in. As soon as I saw him I knew he didn't need a dog. He said the 'grey haired lady' told him a female rat terrier came in and he was there to take her home. I asked when he'd lost her and he said he didn't, he wanted to adopt her because he'd adopted other dogs from us in the past and one of them just had a fine litter of puppies and he wanted another female to breed. Told him our policies changed and he wouldn't be able to adopt and wished him the best luck in his search for a dog. Yes, my tongue was bleeding by that time.

Went back in the office and she just had a fit. That is a nice man and she's adopted dogs to him before and he just loves them. I told her he'd just confirmed what she said and was proud that one of them just had a litter of puppies. *silence* Explained to her THAT is exactly why policy was changed!

Anyway, I'm thrilled with the position and love helping. Very, very happy to be in a shelter with a Director and County Executive willing to do anything they can to make this better. But I'm sure it's going to get VERY ugly with the girl they just hired. Mike (Director) told me the other day he's not happy with her and doesn't think she'll make it. Lots of other stories to prove it including have a fit and thinking he shouldn't euth and dogs, ever. Yeh, that's realistic. Jeez!

Oh and my first meeting with the County Executive, I asked him to have someone finish enclosing the shelter because it was set up like a carport with the cold wind whipping through there. He called someone to go get measurements and start on it that day. They just finished enclosing it the other day. I also told him he's forcing his employee (Mike) to be in a VERY dangerous situation because he's not carrying his gun on duty. We discussed how dangerous the job is and he agreed and has contacted the county attorney to see if there's anything they need to do on their end so Mike can carry on duty. Mike laughed and said the CE loves me and if he wants anything from now on he's sending me in to ask for it! LOL Deal!

Anyway, going to look into classes and see if they'll pay to send me to any. Mike is actually a farrier by trade and has talked about maybe going back to that. He said now that I'm working there I could take his place. I don't see him leaving tomorrow, but it could certainly happen one day so I want to get the education under my belt for the stuff I don't know yet. I may have the management stuff down, but still need the 'real' education for the 'real' work.

Point to the post? Yay!!!! That's it. Just excited to be finally doing what I want to do and especially in a county that's so awesome!
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Old 01-22-2012
hasbeenaco hasbeenaco is offline
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Well, first off, congratulations! It's a great feeling to be able to do what your passionate about. It sounds like you've got things moving in the right directions....quickly! Bravo.

I'm just a little confused. Are you doing all this in a volunteer capacity? If so, I find it a little worrisome. You have been tasked with a lot of responsibility but as a volunteer, nobody has your back. What if something goes bad? You will be left to hang all by your lonesome.

It sounds like you have a great relationship with the Director and County Executive and they have a lot of faith in you. I'd be meeting with the two of them and asking them to back that faith up with some CYA (cover your A$$) paperwork. Even as a volunteer, with that level of responsibility, you should have some sort of contract drawn up to clearly state what you have been retained to do and just how they will stand behind you.
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Old 01-22-2012
acofred acofred is offline
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By "take over the admin side of things" do you mean you have the authority to hire and fire employees, and approve and release volunteers? If so, she needs to go, post haste.
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Old 01-22-2012
HARTinTN HARTinTN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hasbeenaco View Post
Well, first off, congratulations! It's a great feeling to be able to do what your passionate about. It sounds like you've got things moving in the right directions....quickly! Bravo.

I'm just a little confused. Are you doing all this in a volunteer capacity? If so, I find it a little worrisome. You have been tasked with a lot of responsibility but as a volunteer, nobody has your back. What if something goes bad? You will be left to hang all by your lonesome.

It sounds like you have a great relationship with the Director and County Executive and they have a lot of faith in you. I'd be meeting with the two of them and asking them to back that faith up with some CYA (cover your A$$) paperwork. Even as a volunteer, with that level of responsibility, you should have some sort of contract drawn up to clearly state what you have been retained to do and just how they will stand behind you.
Yep, strictly volunteer. Never thought of CYA. A lot of the rescues in this area are doing this for the smaller shelters that don't really have much experience. Absolutely something to think about. Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by acofred View Post
By "take over the admin side of things" do you mean you have the authority to hire and fire employees, and approve and release volunteers? If so, she needs to go, post haste.
I don't hire / fire but they've made it clear if I say she needs to go, she's gone. And after the last couple days I'm pretty sure that's what tomorrow's meeting will be. I meet with the Director and County Executive a couple days a week. I keep them up to date on EVERYTHING I'm doing. They said I don't need to, don't need their authority, but it's their shelter not mine and I feel like I need to and that they need to know what's going on. At the end of the day, their butts are ultimately on the line. I understand CYA and I can be added into law suits or whatever as well as they can, but it would come back to them allowing me there to make changes, so I keep them updated.

She called me today to check on the puppies we have that are sick. Wound up arguing with me again over the adoption policy change and told me flat out she's going to the County Executive and telling him I'm a mistake and he shouldn't have asked me to come in...................... Okay. Shoot yourself in the foot. Have fun. Dummy. By the end of the call she was backtracking and saying she was so glad I was there to help and couldn't wait to see all the changes and new paperwork Monday. Mmm hmmmm.......sure.......

Will see how the meeting goes tomorrow.
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