The 35-plus community members who came to the meeting Monday evening at Golden Sands are most unhappy with the events that have occurred at our very well-loved animal shelter.

We do take some small measure of responsibility that as members of the Humane Society, we didn’t step in sooner. We knew something was going on when, without notice to the membership, the board hired someone for twice as much money as Diana earned and didn’t seem to have a clearly defined job. They moved her into the annex next to the shelter, heating it and installing a phone for one person. I truly say shame on us for not stepping in then!

Consequently, when Diana returned from her vacation, they fired her, replacing her with Jeannette for twice the money and then had to hire two additional workers at the shelter to do the work that Diana used to do. Now, this isn’t good business sense by anyone’s standards.

There are two core issues here: The membership is very concerned that the board has taken away their voting rights. On Nov. 30, 2011, without notice to the very members who support the shelter, the board voted in new by-laws, stating that our shelter is now private and members no longer have a vote. Only they, the board can vote. I don’t believe that under the original by-laws of the shelter, the board can change the by-laws without input and a vote from the membership. I also believe that when changes are made to the board, the membership is supposed to have input and voting rights regarding new board members and officers.

When we asked the board Tuesday evening how they could do such a thing, their answer was “we don’t want a member is St. Louis telling us who to have on the board.” If not, then why would we become members? Our membership dues then only become donations to the shelter with no benefit, the whole idea behind membership dues.

I personally am not asking that the entire board be recalled, but simply asking them to realize this is the community’s shelter and the community has been supporting it for 15 years. We want it back!

As members of the shelter, we will be more diligent in shelter business and several people are willing to consider serving on the board.

One last thing, at the meeting Tuesday evening, when I introduced myself and said I was a member, Keleigh Schwartz stated that I was not a member. I ask her to look at the records for May 17, 2011, and see that I paid my dues. True, they are now 13 days past due, however, that does not mean I am not a member. Also, if I have no vote, I see no reason to join.

Barbara Dunn

Ocean Park

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