With the recent highly publicized attacks on the management of the Kauai Humane Society, we've been seeing a wave of letters to the editor from folks who are upset that the shelter is euthanizing dogs and cats.
About 70 percent of the animals that go into the shelter never come out. They're not claimed by a worried owner, or placed into a forever home. Instead, their lives are ended by shelter staff — the very same people who love animals so much that they accept poor pay and tough working conditions to help them.
Euthanasia is the hardest part of the job at KHS, and only a fool would imagine that they are putting down any more animals than they absolutely must. Last year, KHS euthanized 2,599 animals — most of them feral cats. That's about seven per day, which is an unimaginable number for folks on the outside.
But that's the reality of KHS, which is located on a small, remote island where too many people still don't spay/neuter their pets, certain breeds are overbred, the human population is transient and feral cats have no predators save cars.
Yet some folks seem to believe there's a magical solution that will ensure all of these unwanted animals can live out their natural lives. As Lihue resident Robert James wrote in a letter published yesterday in The Garden Island:
There is no “rescue” for an animal if the survival or adoption rate is 30 percent or less. Where are the funds going? Where are the priorities? Why are our county tax dollars supporting this inept, insensitive management? Each of the board members need to take a good look at their mission statement and decide if they are honoring it appropriately.
Has our Humane Society turned into a crematorium and not a sanctuary? Please, someone in authority, help us understand!
It's actually a pretty simple concept to understand, and it boils down to this: With just 23,000 occupied homes, most of them already housing at least one pet, Kauai does not have enough people to adopt all the unwanted animals it produces. Even sending some off-island for adoption isn't enough to stem the tide.
As for where the money is going, the shelter took in 4,380 cats and dogs in 2014. It costs a lot to fulfill the duties of its county contract, which include picking up strays and providing them with shelter, food and sometimes veterinary care; responding to complaints about animal abuse and barking dogs; educating the public; and maintaining the facility and vans.
Nobody is getting rich, and the priorities are the same as they've always been: reuniting animals with their owners, promoting spay-neuter and trying to get as many animals adopted as they possibly can. These priorities are sound, and they've resulted in a slow, steady decline in euthanasia rates.
While a no-kill shelter is a great romantic fantasy, let's get real. Can you imagine the size of the facility that would be needed if they took in even 2,599 animals every year? Within five years, they'd be up to at least 12,000 animals, since they'd encounter the same barriers to adoption as KHS. Do you have any idea how much it would cost to provide shelter, food, veterinary care, exercise and companionship for 12,000 animals? Especially when some of them are unweaned kittens, aggressive or fearful dogs, or animals with serious behavioral problems.
Even PETA is down on no-kill policies, which they say fail to address the human causes of companion animal over-population — breeders making money off puppy sales, and people who fail to spay-neuter their pets. Often times sanctuaries are just covers for animal hoarders, who can't possibly care for all the critters they've taken in. On a web page entitled “the deadly consequences of 'no-kill' polices,” PETA wrote (emphasis added):
Many groups striving to go “no-kill” use limited resources to provide temporary care; ship dogs and cats across the country (even though every state struggles with the same crisis); close their doors to the neediest animals—those who are in danger of abuse or are injured, sick, elderly, or aggressive; and even attack open-admission shelters that must euthanize animals.
These attacks are what we're seeing now on Kauai, and they're most frequently leveled by the folks who support programs that allow the feral cat colonies to continue. These TNR (trap-neuter-return) programs call for trapping feral cats, having them sterilized and then returning them to the place where they were trapped. Sometimes the colonies are also managed, which means the cats are fed.
While these programs make people feel good, the cats still face disease, flea infestations, hunger and death by car. Feral cats also have been documented killing endangered native birds, and the taxoplasmosis parasite in their feces has been linked to monk seal deaths.
In a letter to the editor today, Joyce Ogmundson of Lihue advocates for TNR as “a solution to kill our island cats in masses. Please check out TNR. There are a gazillion websites to help us all learn more.”
So again, I looked at a PETA website, and found:
PETA has in the past trapped, neutered, returned, and monitored feral cats (and still does, in favorable situations) but not without hesitation and serious concerns. Our experiences include countless incidents in which cats suffered and died horrible deaths because they were forced to fend for themselves outdoors, whether “managed” or not, and have led us to question whether these programs are truly in the cats’ best interests.
Moreover, free-roaming cats also terrorize and kill countless birds and other wildlife who are not equipped to deal with such predators.
Having witnessed firsthand the gruesome things that can happen to feral cats and to the animals they prey on, PETA cannot in good conscience oppose euthanasia as a humane alternative to dealing with cat overpopulation.
Why, then, do folks still promote TNR? And how does it jibe with recommendations from the Kauai Feral Cat Task Force? I'll delve into those questions more deeply in my next post on this topic.
When you have a tyrant in charge of people who care for animals, you will have mutiny.
EXCLUSIVE: 12 employees call for ouster of Kauai Humane Society head
May 26, 2015 06:30 PM
LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Twelve employees of the Kauai Humane Society along with former employees and some longtime supporters and donors to the society are calling for the firing of the facility's executive director.
Why was only 2 employees fired for whistle blowing when 12 actually called for an action to occur.
EXCLUSIVE: Kauai Humane Society fires two whistle blowing managers
Jul 3, 2015 06:16 PM
LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two managers at the Kauai Humane Society who spoke out about problems there, including inaccurate euthanasia rates that were more than 20 percent higher than reported publicly, have been fired by the organization.
The 2 are courageous individuals who I hope get their position back as soon as KHS goes bankrupt by losing their top 3 donors. The KHS board must be relieved of ther duties and replaced by people who will live up to the distinction of the held positions.
This is a tough topic. I volunteered at KHS for a year and a half (before I moved to another state)and it was one of the toughest but most rewarding experiences of my life. There were always a lot of personnel issues, personality conflicts, cultural differences etc. and I can appreciate how difficult it could be to manage the organization. Having said that, I got to know many of the staff who resigned or were terminated and I know first hand their dedication and willingness to hang in there, on behalf of the animals, through the tough times. So the fact that so many left (including long term employees) in such a short period of time, and the staff veterinarian has reportedly considered resigning, is very alarming. I recall a comment in the LTE section of TGI that referred to the ED of KHS as an "unyielding alpha personality" I believe. Based upon my personal experience with this person I can see it. My experiences with some of the BOD members were similar. I believe an external audit of this organization is called for, given the fact that it contracts with the county.
You don't have a clue as to what transpired at KHS. Two long-time problem employees who did not take to supervision bullied 10 others into signing a petition (one has since rescinded signing). The board investigated and found minor issues (dirty cages and 5-year old reporting errors, possibly related to said disgruntled employees). The board, and the community in general, remain in strong support of the executive director. End of story.
As for the TNR people, just who is going to carry this out and pay for it, and just who are these people who will monitor the colonies?? Will they camp out in the jungle? Get real!
I think that you are being disingeneous by reporting that the issue people have with the current management of Kauai Humane Society is that "folks who are upset that the shelter is euthanizing dogs and cats."
The issue many of us have is that Penny Cistaro was reporting euthanasia numbers 20% lower than reality and when caught, said for the two years she has been in charge, “the matrix being used to calculate them (euthanasia numbers) wasn’t accurate.” We aren't talking about high level calculus here, the calculation is "how many animals left the shelter alive and how many were euthanized?"
The whistleblowers who were fired are long time members of the community. When I needed a sweet, old dog euthanized and my vet was unavailable, Mana Brown was kind and gentle and made an awful day okay. I will never forget his kindness. It was Mana who helped break the number fudging story and if he says animals weren't being properly cared for, I would believe him. It would have been much easier and safer for him to not say anything.
As a member of the community, I understand the need to euthanize animals, and I resent you minimizing and mischaracterizing our concerns. There's a issue of leadership problems with the executive director of the Kauai Humane Society. There is documented significant misreporting of euthanasia rates brought to light by long time and well regarded whistleblowers who have since been fired. And these same whistle-blowers have alleged poor treatment of the animals under Penny Cistaro stewardship.
The 12 of the same shelter staff who you say "love animals so much that they accept poor pay and tough working conditions to help them" signed a letter calling for the removal of Penny Cistaro as executive director of the Kauai Humane Society. Two of those twelve employees have since been fired.
The Board and Director corrected the euthanasia numbers, so why not move on from there? It's not really pertinent to the operations of KHS — unless, of course, euthanasia actually is the issue.
Also folks, please don't provide links to pieces by Keoki Kerr. Every time I've read one of his Kauai stories, he's had important information wrong, or missed the point. An example is characterizing Mana and Brandy as "whistle-blowers" rather than cranks or disgruntled employees.
KKCR has been fanning the flames on this, thanks to Jonathan Jay. He was making up stupid names like “Bad Penny” and “Cruella devil” to refer to the KHS director and kept referring to it as Kauai Inhumane Society. It was so inappropriate for a community radio station. Typical KKCR crapola.
Is this a Board member or Penny? I went there on several occasions and that place is a mess.
The board of directors are nothing but primadonnas.
The ED just looks satanic and what she is doing and what everyone on the island is pointing out is that she is not the right person for the job.
KHS donations from the top 3 have pulled out until she and some board members resign.
This is telling something that is woefully wrong is going on over there.
This to me is a similar replay of what was happening at Kauai independent food bank and their top dogs stealing money, food and etc. The abuse of their dept directors and supervisors was identified and I believe that with their resignations, the Kauai food bank is doing much better.
When ABUSE is identified and the whistleblowers get punished, it speaks loud and clear that KHS mission statement is not being upheld.
If you have a long time respectable Vet threatening to resign then that is also an indication that there's something serious.
I work with someone who abuses their power and lies about it. Corporate believes that person(s) but the employees that work that individual(s) knows that person(s) is not the right person for the job. People in managerial positions and director positions should have intensive schooling because when you have the wrong person in that position then turmoil is likely to occur and the company does not function in autonomy.
The power hungry abusive behavior of the wrong kind of person in power is a disaster waiting to happen. Trust me I know, I've been in many of those situations.
I use to be a lead, manager, dept head and as a young person I would sponge all the good qualities that I thought previous supervisors had. I would always repel what this leaders also did wrong by company, state, and federal practices. When it was my time to lead, I lead with honors but most importantly with respect, fair and equal treatment and dignity given to others as well as my subordinates and those above me.
If PETA sides with KHS, then so do I.
The feral cat people are crazy.
What about all the euthanasia those feral cats impose on Kauai's endangered birds?
Why haven't anyone who wants to save all the animals and stop euthanasia come up with a plan to pay for all the expense needed to care for the sheltered animals. Also with more animals you need more space which also cost money. Not to forget more people to care for the animals which also cost money. Its all about economics. In the end you need to euthanize and not every animal can be saved. It just the way it is.
11:39 "The Board and Director corrected the euthanasia numbers, so why not move on from there?"
Like"move on" from James Clapper, Director of Ntional Intelligence when Sen Wyden asked "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" Clapper responded "No, sir." Wyden asked "It does not?" and Clapper said "Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly.
11:39 "An example is characterizing Mana and Brandy as "whistle-blowers" rather than cranks or disgruntled employees."
They tried that with Edward Snowden as well.
"When Edward Snowden was asked during his January 26, 2014 TV interview in Moscow what the decisive moment was or why he blew the whistle, he replied: "Sort of the breaking point was seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress. … Seeing that really meant for me there was no going back.
Really? You're equating KHS euthanasia numbers with NSA data collection, and Mana/Brandy with Edward Snowden? Get a grip!
Is this déjà vu? Shaylene is that you running the KHS? Or is that a clone (GMO) of you?
The PA office had this happen to them a few years ago and a lot of good people were burnt all in the name of one out of control manager.
Shoots I believe that almost every dept on Kauai has had this problem but I don't know if Kusaka and Thronas stayed in office as long as Yukimura, what would Kauai have looked like?
Like whoah we are lucky that Kauai people finally came to their senses in all of this power hungry abusive individuals that ruined many depts and many hard working caring individuals who lost their jobs because of such person(s).
1:28 Not equating but noticing similarities. All whistleblowers are disgruntled which is why they blow the whistle! How does a journalist get a grip on the proper description for a person who correctly reveals falsehoods? Really?
Joan - Thank you for these well rounded words.
No one likes to kill animals. Reality is hard.
Money is scarce.
But when you have such vitriol against the KHS Director and have people working to destroy the KHS, the animals suffer.
Penny is a good administrator. She looks the Council straight in their befuddled eyes and states the facts. Give KHS more money to take care of the cats.
It will take a while for the the hate and the lingering doubts that have been created by the "disgruntled workers" and their vicious smear campaign.
The oft articulated "inaccurate kill rates" is a shill.
Animal Shelters kill animals. Fact. Kauai is in the middle of nowhere, has no money, has a bunch of cat activists, a ton of (err Ross can I say it?) Locals who do not chip or neuter their animals. Let alone the whack-a-doo "cat ladies".
The nutjob sign wavers and hate spewers are doing a disservice to the future of the KHS.
Penny is solid. She is straight and if some namby pamby workers can't handle it Tough Sh*t, go get another job. Your legacy will linger. The KHS will suffer with a decrease of donations. The animals will be the victims of your BS.
But, the KHS will rise stronger and cleaner...and hopefully still with Penny as the leader.
I support the KHS and have for many years (from before Sherry Ho days) and will continue to support KHS. So let's all dig a little and give to the animals and Kauai Humane Society.
And Gary Hooser- Aintcha happy that your mob style smear antics are now being used by other f*cknuts?
Such a happy little island and so many f*ckin' nutjobs. Where is my Doobie? I can't wait for Big Boy Bynum's Bogart Bong Boutique to open, I need a fattie to relax.
Put Mike Dahlig in charge of KHS. Dictate that all animals that have previously had a license or lack there of, whether they thought they needed one or not are here to for..forfeit and illegal. All animals are in violation of the law. And until the Animal Commission approves them they are subject to 10,000 dollar fines and whatnot.
The Animal Commission with their large doe eyes gazing intently at Commissar Dahlig's inclinations will do right by the animals. Some will live, some will be have parts removed, especially those sensitive parts, but most will be eliminated. The Animal Department will have its people force expanded by 700 employees, to track, monitor and seize the malingering four legged culprits.
JoAnn will demand a study. Gary will go to Russia to see how Putin handles his 4 legged miscreants. Ross will be happy that the Local Animals will have a doghouse.
Mel says "elect me Mayor and I'll fix everything, but remember I'll need all you non-local votes to get there...so as far as voting goes, we are all locals. Even you Haoles"
This is not illegal TVR doodoo head. First of all they shouldn't have been operating without proper permits and a GET license. If they were out of the VDA then should have never been given a permit.
The whole mess screams how inept the county is. What are we paying county taxes for this kind of half ass jobs that they do or don't even do. Pencil whipping things were the norm back then now there's a new law dog in town and it's not Dahilig, the Mayor, the police chief, the PA, or council members.
This fakah is Batman or something! He's for real not like the movies only pretend.
Please morph this line of conversation to the "Dog Noise Problem" and the call to void the newly minted Dog Noise Ordinance. Now that issue ties in with this Humane Society issue perfectly. There's a connection to hunting dog kennels, the corrupt inept police force, the Humane Society and the local old boy mentality. Otherwise why haven't the disturbing packs of dog kennels in places in residential areas been expunged? There's a whole bunch of super intelligent caring people in charge around here and it spills into every aspect of our lives from the hack county council to the absolutely corrupt police force that evidentally serves as a money fleecing evidence planting poor excuse for a tv crime show. Do you really think Mel Rapozo has changed inside from the old Mel. You know the slimy police officer who was a thug in the old days? He was/is the epitome of sly and cunning. He just changed clothes. Same Mel. And Ross Kogawa is his partner. What in Gods name is this all about? Oh you mean the kennels of hunting dogs? No Ross says it about people using the orrdinance to "get " other people......And yes it all ties in with the Humane society directly as they are charged with policing it now. Bait and switch. The KHS is run by and kept in place by the same power structure who backs no obstructing hunting kennels. Wonder why?
Mel is slimy. Watch out. But i think a lot of the "harpies" in here subscribe to the "Let's keep our local boys in power because after all we're pretty much all related anyway.....Don't think so? Go to jail and see who's related to who. Yeah Mel won't have my vote for Mayer. And on the Dog Bill referendum the only person with any reason and no agenda at first reading was Gary Hooser who said amend it. We're going to see who's who on this one. Idiots.
Moaning and groaning about one's boss to TGI and FaceBook does NOT necessarily make one a whistleblower.
The KHS has morphed into an animal loving shelter which cannot financially sustain itself without charging (high) fees for all their services. Only the well to do can take advantage of their services, while the average family cannot afford to pay for the costs to license and care for the animals they happen to take in. From 40 years ago and longer, the KHS has always put animals away, if they could not get adopted. You cannot possibly keep animals there for their lifetime, you would need a really large facility. In the old days, unwanted litters would be dumped in the ocean. It may sound gross, but it happened, because people couldn't afford to feed them, and there wasn't a spay or neuter program back then. Even now, the cost to spay or neuter is out of reach for many people, and now that they need to pay for licensing, you can bet, these animals will just be abandoned. Get real!!
Get real! if you can not afford the cost to spay and neuter your pet, you can not afford to take care of a pet for it's life time. Either take responsibility or don't get one. It's a time and financial commitment. Stop blaming KHS for owners being irresponsible.
Eh- in the old days at the Salt Pond Shelter, the euthnasia was done in a small concrete bunker, 4X4X6 no windows. A lawnmower was outside with the exhaust going thru a small puka in the bunker wall. Not a friendly feeling place.
Peaceful exhaust. The KHS has come a long way.
But many people are irresponsible . Love your dogs and cats.
I would be inclined to accept the positions of PETA and KHS over Jonathan Jay.
Dogs bark, cat scratch, roosters crow, pigs dig up your yard, cow shit smells... all shit smells. Kauai is morphing. Sell the dogs and cats for food. There is some place in this world that eats them. Make use of this resource. KHS is a hotel compared to the old one in Salt Pond.
TNR works. It is just slower. The real problem tho is the dog and cat owners who just dump their pets when they are no longer wanted. The big problem on Oahu is the military. Some shelters won't adopt out to military anymore because in a few years the pet ends up at the Humane Society, in a colony, or back in a shelter.
First thing that needs to happen is a state law that says no animal can be adopted out without being neutered. Period. Not from pet stores, not from your home, not from breeders. Additionally they have to be chipped. Being able to track down owners who dump is a critical element to all this.
I believe in the motto of many shelters, no breeding of cats and dogs until there are no more in the shelters. That includes pure breds.
I do not doubt Brandy and Mana love the animals, however they were horrible people to work with. The numbers that were reported weren't "wrong". The numbers were correct. It appears the board got pressured into changing the way they reported the number. So, they stopped counting "return to owner" (RTO) as helping the animals. That is what brought the numbers lower. DID YOU KNOW, KHS has a 100% euthanasia rate if you don't count the adopted animals and the transfer animals? CRAZY!
Working at KHS after Mana and Brandy have been let go has been a breath of fresh air. It is easier to get work done, and their bullying is no longer an issue at work. They still continue to bully outside the organization, but that is another issue. That is part of their nature, I believe.
PS The bullying they and KCCP & friends do is the reason this comment is anonymous. In the past there were death threats to other executive directors. I do not doubt Penny has had death threats. The people that are brave are the people that willingly push back against these bullies knowing the hate that will entail.
I've had to deal with Mana Brown at KHS and it's good he got fired, he didn't know what the hell he was doing. I asked for a copy of MY incident report written by KHS and he said I wasn't allowed to have a copy and that I would need a subpoena!!!! And I'm not the only one that has had first hand experience with him that was less than mediocre.
I had to go to Penny to get a copy which she got to me within 24 hours.
I think Mana doesn't like the fact that Penny actually makes sure people are doing their jobs, same as everyone else that signed that petition. Penny finally has gotten KHS on the right tracks and the workers don't like it because now they actually have to be held accountable for their jobs.
And as far as the euthanizing, guess what, that's what happens. Our island cant even accommodate human growth so this is how feral animal growth is contained.
this is amazing and very amusing. "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" under mask we tell all and our thoughts via electronics. it is very hard to take a bitter pill. that is why there is a sugar coating. be careful of Karma. be nice.
Can't stop cats from breeding. I love cats but there's only one way to "control" cat population growth.
It seems quite clear to me that KHS is doing the best that it can with an incredibly difficult situation. That situation is, unfortunately, only made worse by irresponsible owners and the activities of feral cat apologists pursuing TNR.
A few points to make:
1. Trapping and removing feral cats is cheaper than trapping, sterilizing, releasing, and then supplying feral cat colonies for years.
2. Euthanasia can be a merciful release from a harsh existence and is a much better way to exit this world than to have half your body squashed by a car, dying on the side of the road.
3. If anyone wants to have a "no-kill" shelter, let them. Build it. Let this be a supplement (and not a replacement) to the work being done by KHS.
4. Feral cats, even sterilized ones, continue to kill threatened and endangered birds. They take baby birds right out of the nests and can completely destroy an entire breeding colony in one night.
5. Sterilizing feral cats does not address the threat to people and animals from toxoplasmosis. This parasite, which is excreted in cat feces, survives in the soil, rivers, and ocean for years. It can cause miscarriages, fetal abnormalities, memory loss, even death. Infection has also been linked to mental disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Consider this the next time you are at a beach park where feral cats are being fed/maintained. You don't want toxoplasmosis. And because cats are the only species that excrete these parasites into the environment, removing cats removes the health threat.
Of course you can stop cats from breeding, that's what the "N" in "TNR" is for. Spay/neuter is a highly effective means of population control: the widespread national implementation of spay/neuter has reduced the number of animals put down at municipal pounds each year from 10-12 million in the 1990's to about 2-3 million currently.
Remember Bob Barker on The Price Is Right? “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered!” Before that, there were decades of shelter "euthanasia." Decades, and it did nothing to stop the population from increasing. The killing did nothing to stop the killing. Every year, more cats and dogs were dying in the shelter. Until widespread spay/neuter. It's paying off, and it's past time to make a coordinated effort to expand the spay/neuter efforts to all the feral cats. All of them.
TNR is cheaper than trap-and-kill, by far, because community members will volunteer their own time and resources to help with it, if you just get out of their way. Who is going to volunteer their own time and resources to help with mass trap-and-put-down? Not me, that's for sure.
I once took a stray cat to KHS and posted online, trying to help find the owner, before its 72 hours were up. It was amazing to see how many people took exception to what I had done. The horror, taking the cat to the shelter! It might die there! They said I should've just left the cat alone, should've just hoped that she would somehow find her way home. Fortunately, the cat had a microchip, and the owner reclaimed her. It had been more than a year since she'd been lost. If there's that kind of public outcry from one pet cat getting turned over to KHS, I can only imagine the public response to a coordinated lethal population control campaign. It's not practical to attempt it. Obviously the rate of cats getting put down at KHS is doing nothing to reduce the population, if there's still an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 of them (and at the rate of only about 2,000 of them getting put down at KHS annually, it's easy to see why this is ineffective at influencing overall population numbers).
Sterilizing cats absolutely does stop toxoplasmosis, both because it's primarily spread by kittens (sterilization means no more kittens), and because the next step after sterilization is attrition. Outdoor cats have an average lifespan of less than five years. Comprehensive TNR was proposed to the Kauai County Council (which didn't approve it) by 2005. Ten years ago. We could have been more than twice done with this issue already. No more cats means no more toxo, absolutely, and sterilization is the key to actually getting it done, instead of just talking about whether KHS is good, or bad, or in between, while doing nothing about the actual problem.
There is no way volunteers can or will take care of all the stray cats or all the colonies, regardless of whether the cats were neutered.
People already are taking care of the feral cats in their neighborhoods, by putting out food for them, or letting them get into the trash. Like it or not, that's already happening. And the people who are doing it will actively interfere with any proposal to trap and remove (put down) the neighborhood cats. What I'm proposing is just to expand the efforts to get them spayed and neutered, which is far more likely to be acceptable to the people who already feed them.
They are taking care of some cats, not anywhere near all. If they want to take care of them they can Pay to spay-neuter them too and pay for the caged enclosure to keep them away from birds. In bird areas they need to trapped and eradicated like rats are. They can't be allowed to roam at will just because some people like to feed them.
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