Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014
Editorials

Time for open dialog between humane society's warring factions


Published:

The best way to get through a crisis is to face it head-on, unflinchingly, with the truth being exposed and the critics having their say. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be happening with the whirlwind swirling around the Humane Society of Highlands County.

A lot of drama cranked up after shelter director Amanda Helton was fired more than a week ago. A Facebook page was created with Helton supporters making lots of claims about the humane society board. Now those same critics want a meeting with board members, but that isn't going to happen because the board refuses to meet with them.

We believe this is the wrong tactic to clear the air. What's necessary at this point is for the humane society board to face critics and open the financial books to anyone who wants to see what's going on. Only through transparency and open dialog - even if it's unpleasant - can the matter be resolved.

The Humane Society of Highlands County does an amazing job and doesn't use public funding to care for many animals that desperately need care. It depends on generous donations and other fundraising to operate, and lots of good folks step up and provide it.

The public hasn't heard specifics of what this brouhaha is all about, so most folks don't have a clue what's really going on. That's too bad. All that leaves the majority of people with is gossip and innuendo. Our biggest fear is that it could hurt the humane society, and that's the last thing anyone wants or needs.

Conflicts often arise with any board and membership, especially involving personnel issues. It's part of operating a non-profit with plenty of caring and passionate people who volunteer and are concerned about an important cause.

We don't want anyone being mistreated and unfairly accused of things that aren't true. The problem for most people is that they don't know what's true or just angry comments flying around.

We hope the humane society board soon meets with anyone who has questions, provides open access to any financial documents - if that's what's being questioned - and put this matter to rest.

Our humane society must thrive and continue its excellent work, and have the petty bickering put aside. If there are problems, then fix them. This is important to all of us - and especially the animals whose lives are saved every day.

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