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May 18, 2004
MtA Bulletin:
MtA has received feedback from membership that they are becoming annoyed with e-mail messages from Humane Society officials. Humane Society president-elect, Brent Bolick, has sent a third e-mail notice with the,
again, misleading and confusing "from MTA and HSI" format containing inaccurate information in a desperate attempt to communicate and influence mtA supporters.  For this reason, MtA has refrained from responding to each of these HSI correspondences point by point.  We discovered early in this initiative that messages (not communication) from HSI officials have been characterized by misleading, patronizing and circular rhetoric.
Although all of the points in Mr. Bolick's letters are refutable, his insistence that mtA's ".desire to focus on the past and mislead the community with false and erroneous information" is a comment that especially reflects Mr. Bolick's confusion and/or his familiar intention to mislead the public. We feel mtA should comment on this one point:
MovetoACT and the entire animal welfare community are very concerned about the present and future. Mr. Bolick, along with the old guard on the board, is part of the leadership that was "on watch" during the controversial past and is "on watch" now - putting the future of the agency at continued risk. These officials were present in overseeing the agency when it began a hemorrhaging of the millions of dollars and a compromise of community trust that has brought the agency to the current brink of demise. It is this same leadership that has mislead the public and donors about its financial issues.  It is the perpetuation of this same leadership into present that makes the future status of this agency's existence negligible.
The Humane Society Annual meeting is Wednesday, May 19th at 11:30 AM. Please try and attend!  Come early if you can.
If you happen to be taken by surprise and are asked for a "comment" by the media, you don't have to think too hard about what you can say. Here are some thoughts that are at the surface of this profound concern
of board accountability and why mtA is pushing for the old board resignation:
Let's review:
Nearly 2500 people in the community have indicated with their signature in the "Down to the Bone" campaign,  "No confidence" in the HSI 2000-2002 board. Well-respected and long-standing local animal groups such as ARPO, SNSI, and many others support the mtA initiative. This does not suggest very strong community or organizational support for HSI board leadership.
In the last several years, the Humane Society of Indianapolis has lost more money than any other Humane Society in the United States. This does not reflect responsible stewardship.
For many years the Humane Society has been a very wealthy organization, peaking in 1999 in the top 3% of the wealthiest animal charities in the country, with assets of over $15 million.  It has received the lion's share of local animal welfare donations, diverting funds away from smaller local animal organizations.
With so much wealth at its disposal, we would expect our community to have made great strides in reducing pet overpopulation, the number of unwanted animals on our city's streets, and surrendered and destroyed in our shelters, and the incidence of animal cruelty and neglect in our community.
Unfortunately, our community is doing much worse than many other cities in these measures, despite the vast assets at the disposal of the Humane Society over the years.  Currently, the number of stray and unwanted
animals in our community continues to rise, as does the number of animals destroyed community-wide in our shelters.  Dog-fighting and animal abuse and neglect cases are also at an all-time high.
HSI has been adamant in its refusal to embrace the initiative for aggressive, low-cost spay-neutering.  The presence of the veterinary representation on the board supporting this posture is a juxtaposition in the face of commitment and compassion with regard to the mission. HSI has rejected offers by both FACE and SNSI to participate in low cost spay neuter programs.
Until recently, the Humane Society of Indianapolis mission has been, "To provide shelter to lost and homeless animals, to educate the community about the humane care and treatment of animals, to advocate animal welfare, and to further the bond between people and animals."  It has been reduced to: "Provide shelter and comfort to animals in need on the path to loving lifetime homes."
Now the Humane Society is announcing impending bankruptcy, cutting animal advocacy and education programs, and is no longer receiving animals into the shelter one day a week or without payment of a surrender fee.
Q.  Who is accountable at the Humane Society for the depletion of these vast sums of animal welfare dollars while making no real progress in animal welfare in our community?
A.  Despite what Mr. Bolick wants to admit, it is the Humane Society officials controlling the money and perations of HSI in recent years. These remaining officials include:
Monty Korte
Brent Bolick
Erik Tysklind, DVM
John Miller
Gary Sampson, DVM
Steve Baker
Pat Keiffner
Steve Robinson
Steve Plump.
These officials continue to support asking the community to give the agency more money to avoid bankruptcy, yet what responsible fiduciary measures have they proposed to abort the actions and behavior resulting in the depletion of the agency's treasury?
Before the community can trust HSI with any more animal welfare dollars these board members must be replaced.
Mr. Bolick insists that "the HSI board development process does not and will not include mass resignation of board members who served between 2000 & 2002" (04/28/04). Unfortunately this posture threatens the survival of this extremely critical agency, the benefactors of which are the animals of our community.
MtA will press forward until these board members resign and are replaced with members from the community who reflect the character of responsible stewardship.  Only then will the community be able to again put their trust in the Humane Society of Indianapolis.
Mr. Bolick's offer of selective appeasement and token representation will not suffice as has been evidenced in the last year.

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