May 18, 2004
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
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
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
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
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:
Erik Tysklind, DVM
Gary Sampson, DVM
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.
Move to ACT