The Ottumwa Courier


July 30, 2013

Animal shelter volunteers frustrated with dismissal


"They made appearances when each new director appeared to get in with them," he said. "I had been warned about them, so finally, as a last resort to keep them away from the shelter, I wrote the letters."

In the letter, McHawes said the women's presence stressed out "the staff and the animals that reside here at the shelter."

"The thing I don't understand is why is this being made such a big deal?" McHawes told the Courier. "It's being made like some corporate takeover was going on. It's much ado about nothing. We depend on volunteers and we welcome volunteers here, but when they do what's not good for the animals and the organization, then they're asked to not be here."

Kerry Wulff, who's adopted her pets from the shelter and received help spaying and neutering them, said the shelter's management needs to give everyone a clear answer.

"I don't feel like the shelter has addressed its critics and exactly told us why ... these women can't come back," she said. "Why can they not be there? What did they do that was so horrible that they can't come back?

"If the volunteers did something horrible ... don't we as the public have a right to know?"

Brown and Wulff were also concerned that the board of trustees tried to switch last week's meeting at the last minute so they wouldn't show up, giving them "the run-around," Wulff said.

But since HHS is a private, nonprofit organization, it does not fall under Iowa's open meetings law.

"There was a notice at Hotel Ottumwa stating it was being moved from Thursday to Tuesday because we wouldn't have had enough board members to make a quorum," McHawes said.

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