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Posted on January 19, 2005  

Tim Burris

Turnout was sparse for the Meet the Board of Directors Night at the
Humane Society of Indianapolis last Thursday. Eight board members and
five members of the community showed up for the two-hour event designed
to make the board available for questions and comments from the public.

People have raised questions about the HSI Board's past dealings, but the
response Thursday night left HSI Executive Director Martha Boden asking,
“How many people are actually wondering?”

The Humane Society distributed a press release to local media as well as
noting the meeting on its website in mid December. A story concerning the
meeting also ran in NUVO. Information was provided to Stacey Coleman, who
had advocated that HSI hold the event. “If we aren't tapping everyone who
is interested, how do we reach those people?” Boden said.

“It was disappointing,” said Christine Jeschke, board member of Spay
Neuter Services of Indiana and Move to Act. “Was it advertised, or are
people disheartened so much they've given up?”

As stated in the press release for the event, HSI wished to have an open
forum to discuss “positive, forward thinking ideas.” But after brief
introductions by board members, the conversation quickly turned to
questions about HSI's past. Stacey Coleman said, “I'm here because I have
old wounds.” Coleman also said that the people she has talked to in the
animal welfare community have turned away because the Humane Society
hasn't apologized or tried to address issues of the past.

Linda Brundage, Co-Chair of the Communications Committee, told Coleman
that is what the Board is attempting to do through these meetings.
Addressing Coleman, Brundage said, “By opening dialog we can hear stories
from people and address the past.”

HSI held two similar meetings last fall where the public was invited to
meet the staff members. The meetings had similar turnouts.

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