The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

July 30, 2013

Animal shelter volunteers frustrated with dismissal


One wrongdoing McHawes said HHS does admit to is losing the PetSmart Charities contract.

"The board will admit to mismanagement," he said. "They had been told by PetSmart Charities ... to remove the [Rescue Waggin'] manager at the time and they did not do that ... until it was too late. At that point in time, with the guidelines set, PetSmart said you don't want to do what we ask, so they took the Rescue Waggin' away from us."

The Rescue Waggin' would transport animals from HHS to other shelters where they could be adopted. The program had been in place for four to five years.

Board of trustees president Jean Sporer was out of town and could not be reached as of press time Tuesday.

— To follow reporter Chelsea Davis on Twitter, head to


Inspections by PetSmart Charities in September showed several areas of concern at Heartland Humane Society, according to a report provided to the Courier.

According to the report by Sherry Woodard, animal behavior consultant with Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, she said basic care for the dogs and cats at the shelter was not being met.

Criticisms included:

-- Many animals were desperate for human interaction.

-- Dogs are overfed and food is recycled for next feeding.

-- Animals were not current on vaccines.

Woodard noted that "animals are not receiving basic care from current staff" and the shelter is overpopulated. At that time, the shelter was housing 191 animals. Shelter manager Stan McHawes said the shelter is currently holding 102 dogs and 85 cats.

"We stop accepting animals before we get to that point [overpopulation]," McHawes said. "But we are looking to network out to other shelters to transfer some of the animals ... for adoption. Losing the Rescue Waggin' was a hit to us, but it wasn't our only avenue for getting dogs to other places."

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