Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

CONFRONTING THE CHALLENGES – Moderator Sofia Fortin speaks to the 75 people who turned out at Tuesday evening’s special general meeting at the Mt. McIntyre Recreation Centre.

Humane society ‘blown away’ by public support

The Humane Society Yukon is reporting having 16 people interested in joining its board and is just under $10,000 away from a GoFundMe campaign goal.

By Gord Fortin on November 27, 2019

The Humane Society Yukon is reporting having 16 people interested in joining its board and is just under $10,000 away from a GoFundMe campaign goal.

The society operates the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter on Tlingit Street.

Earlier this month, it warned the shelter might have to close if the situation didn’t improve.

“The board is exhausted,” it said in a statement at that time.

“Membership and the community have clearly indicated that they do not trust the operation and decision-making (remains) a challenge.

“The board appeals to the community to come together and either close the animal shelter; support the animal shelter; or reform the shelter.”

Society president Kate Dawson spoke with the Star this morning about Tuesday evening’s special general meeting at the Mt. McIntyre Recreation Centre, attended by about 75 people.

“We were just blown away with how well it went,” Dawson said.

She said everyone who attended was informed of the troubles facing the society. The last financial review was in 2017, and there needs to be another one.

She said there is a clear lack of funds.

This means, Dawson explained, the society is unable to pay its bills. She added the financial hardship is worse than she originally thought.

She went over the circumstances that have led to the financial troubles.

It began when the society decided to change to a new accounting computer program called Quick Books. She said the society should have hired someone to handle the finances and not rely on the program.

The society’s executive director became too busy with fundraising rather than running the shelter, Dawson added, and this led to the troubles.

The board decided to waive a financial review after 2017, which is permitted in the territorial Societies Act. This decision was later voted down by members.

A financial review was approved for 2018-2019.

A bookkeeper was hired to correct any data entry errors and an accounting firm was retained to do the review.

On Tuesday evening, Dawson said, 13 people signed up as volunteers. She did not have a count of how many people joined the society.

“People were inquiring but also helping,” Dawson said.

The 16 people interested in joining the board have not been voted in yet. That will come at another meeting.

“I think it is wonderful to have that many people interested,” Dawson said.

The plan is to hold a meeting where these 16 people can meet each other and see where they stand. A second gathering would be scheduled afterwards where the new board would be voted in.

Dawson estimated that there would be around 10 board positions.

These meetings will be scheduled after the the financial review is completed. Once this is finished, the board can move to get the society back on track with the consumer and corporate affairs branch.

“Then we can get back in good standing,” Dawson said.

At last evening’s meeting, people were giving feedback, and defining their vision of the society, she added. Many wanted it to expand.

There has been talk about the shelter joining its operations with the city pound. She indicated this would be a decision for the new board at a later time.

There was a demand for more transparency and communication. Many people brought up using social media, Dawson said.

She explained that the older board members don’t have much knowledge of social media nor new technology.

The society launched a GoFundMe campaign, aiming to raise $35,000 to help pay bills.

She explained that the money will most likely go toward vet bills, with several animals at the 21-year-old shelter requiring care. She said local vets have been generous on working with the society.

Dawson said $840 was donated at Tuesday’s meeting. An anonymous mining company donated $19,260.

In total, the society had raised $28,624 as of Tuesday, and the campaign is ongoing.

The Yukon government provides one quarter of the society’s funding. She added the government seems willing to help it look at new management strategies.

The current board is also willing to help, Dawson said.

Comments (6)

Up 12 Down 5

tom on Nov 29, 2019 at 3:43 pm

Politico--- Read the newspaper articles from all the outlets the numbers keep changing than what they claim they have raised and still need. Provide a shelter or rescue anywhere that pays a ED 60000 a year? You won't find one unless they are 100 percent government run or privately owned tied to a business. The ED for HSY sat behind a desk and did not do this so called fundraising, pick up supplies but did harass the staff. The HSY also claims the lawsuit is what did them in. Well if they would have followed their policies there would not have been a lawsuit. Again Gov or City take it over please.

Up 3 Down 12

Politico on Nov 28, 2019 at 11:32 pm

@Tom - EDs do make that amount of money. Expertise costs! If you had bothered to read the article, the shelter is doing books for the 2 and a half years.
None of the numbers you quoted in your letter were in the article. Making them up or can you provide a source? Or just not telling the truth!!

Up 14 Down 9

Tom on Nov 28, 2019 at 4:32 pm

Something isn't adding up. One report says they have raised 48,000 another says 28,000 and they say "we still need 10,000 to meet the goal'. Not making sense. What is the cost breakdown to run the shelter per day when they are never full to capacity. This was quoted in a newspaper article they have not been at capacity since 2015 and why was a ED making over 60,000 per yr? No shelter or rescue pays that. Shelter is needed but let the gov or city take over for the sake of the animals.

Up 30 Down 3

Dave on Nov 28, 2019 at 1:07 pm

It just goes to show that Yukoners will wholeheartedly support truly worthwhile causes such as caring for innocent defenceless animals who must rely on humans to live. However most of us don’t have the time of day for the crisis of the month climate emergency crowd or the bicycles are going to save the world bunch.

Up 25 Down 2

Juniper Jackson on Nov 28, 2019 at 12:54 pm

When I see what is happening with the City and YTG buying into the scare their money out of every one emergency screams, over 2 million dollars on dope.. YTG and the City better get their crap together and fund this no kill shelter. As Dan is soooo fond of saying.. they do 'it' this way everywhere else.. well..everywhere else the shelters are funded.. so do it. 350k ? 400k? is too much to ask volunteers to fund raise for... the alternative is to hire MORE City employee's, dedicated to the pound, and shoot strays. And there will be a lot more of them if the Shelter closes. Unfortunately, people think its ok to turn their dog or cat loose when it get old, or needs some vet care that they don't want to pay for...Karma will look after them, we should look after the pets.

Up 36 Down 3

jc on Nov 27, 2019 at 5:05 pm

The YTG should be giving more support for animal welfare and a whole lot less to the N'GO environment greeny groups who's only agenda it seems is to shut down money making enterprise and turn the Yukon into a international park. Animal welfare is much more important than those.

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