Greyhound Friends Wants To Continue Its Mission, Hopkinton Selectmen Say No

HOPKINTON — Greyhound Friends is not giving up on its work to reopen its kennel after selectmen unanimously voted Tuesday night not to support a new license.

“While we are disappointed by the Board of Selectmen’s decision, we will continue to work cooperatively to address regulatory concerns,” the organization’s Board of Directors wrote in a statement.

For the past year, the organization's members have worked to improve the kennel, increase the qualifications of the staff and adopt a new kennel policy and procedure handbook that meets state and federal law, along with town bylaws.

“We are forever grateful to provide for so many wonderful animals, who deserve nothing less than a happy and safe environment,” the statement reads. “It is our hope to continue this vitally important work in the foreseeable future.”

Selectmen voted 5-0 against recommending a new license after listening to more than two hours of testimony during a public hearing Tuesday night at the HCAM-TV studio on Main Street. It’s now up to Town Clerk Connor Degan to officially deny the license which the organization requested in June, according to Town Counsel Ray Miyares.

The organization will need to apply for a new license and pass inspection to reopen in the future.

Former board members and staffers accuse the organization of misusing funds and not providing proper or timely care for some of the dogs.

Selectmen Chairwoman Claire Wright believes the organization is unable and unwilling to comply with regulations for humane animal care.

The town is not in the position to “babysit” the organization if it were to reopen, she said

“Thirty years of trying hasn’t fixed it,” Wright said. “This organization has consistently not demonstrated an ability to comply with the requirements of humane care.”

To ensure a fresh start, other selectmen want to see a completely new board of directors.

Speaking out

The hearing drew more than 60 people to speak both for and against granting a new license. The hearing considered “whether the kennel is being maintained in a sanitary and humane manner and/or if records are properly kept as required by law.”

The town yanked the shelter’s license in January 2017 after the state Animal Health Division ordered a cease and desist against the organization. The state ordered the organization to upgrade its individual kennels with heavier gauge chain-link fences and new hardware as well as paint on the floors and walls.

In December 2017, Framingham District Court Judge David Cunis found the organization’s founder Louise Coleman not guilty of one count of animal cruelty. Coleman, 73, had resigned from the Greyhound Friends’ Board of Directors and took a leave of absence as executive director in March 2017, before being fired a few months later.

Coleman will no longer be involved in the organization. She did not attend the hearing.

“After two years of internal hard work and external cooperation in good faith with every legal and regulatory inquiry facing Greyhound Friends this organization has transitioned from a founder-led organization to a stronger autonomous public charity now controlled and managed by a highly-skilled, independent and mission driven group of board members, employees and volunteers,” said Greyhound Friends attorney Elizabeth Reinhardt.

Police Lt. Joe Bennett inspected the facility on Sept. 6 along with the building inspector, two fire prevention officers and the health director. Based on the inspection, the kennel does not meet the standards of the town’s bylaw, he said.

“The facility is presently not capable of providing a humane and sanitary environment for the kenneling of greyhounds based on their size,” Bennett wrote in his report.

Some of the problems include a lack of hot water for cleaning, that the pea stone yard is insufficient for cleaning and sterilization as well as the fact the outdoor isolation area is not contained. The air conditioning wasn't working during the inspection, said Bennett.

Of the 26 individual kennels, 16 were too small for a full-sized male greyhounds, the inspectors determined.

“A full-size male would have to either curl their legs or maintain their neck and head in line or below their spine,” Bennett said.

The recommended capacity for the configuration is 10 dogs.

The department requested the records of 45 dogs and Greyhound Friends officials said 10 files were offsite and would need to be collected. The records were picked up on Monday and reviewed before the hearing.

“The documents are incomplete, they’re missing dates, signatures, adoption contracts, surrender forms, contracts and other aspects,” Bennett said. “They were also unable to account for two dogs, Terianna and Jack.”

Shelter management admitted records for Terianna don’t exist.

Lt. Alan Borgal, law enforcement director for the Animal Rescue League of Boston, said he saw few changes at the shelter in 2016 and 2017.

“I have no faith in the current Greyhound Friends Board of Directors or their staff to operate and maintain a kennel license,” he said.

The poor recordkeeping makes it “impossible” for authorities to determine veterinary work on the dogs.

“Even after all this time, you have a lieutenant go in and they still don't have their records. That’s the biggest problem (other inspectors) and I were having,” he said.

Defending the kennel

Board President Stoddard Melhado challenged Bennett’s conclusion the kennels are too small.

“Our kennels are sized to meet the needs of this unique breed,” he said. “The 2016 town inspection reports the dogs are able to stand, lie down and turn around freely. These dogs come from tracks where the minimum size for them in Florida is 2-feet by 3-feet. Our kennels are much, much bigger than that. The dogs are used to and like being in quite small spaces.”

The organization has committed to only taking in greyhounds and greyhound mixes, limiting the number of  to 20.

Last month, Greyhound Friends reached a deal with the state Attorney General’s office, which acknowledged the organization’s board of directors failed to provide sufficient oversight of Coleman and to “ensure management and operational decisions were made in the best interest of the organization.”

The organization expanded its board to improve finance and accounting, kennel compliance and animal care, and electronic recordkeeping and database functions. Bylaws were amended to institute board term limits and a staggered approach to appointments. There is also language on qualifications for directors.

Melhado said the organization is looking to the future. His term is set to expire in April.

Greyhound Friends authorities spoke of kennel improvements, practices and protocols, board oversight, operations and a new electronic recordkeeping system. Caryn-Amy Rose is set to take over as president.

“After implementing substantial changes, under new leadership and direction, Greyhound Friends is ready to operate in a more modern and responsive manner, while remaining true to its core mission,” she wrote in a letter to selectmen.

Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 508-626-4338 or jphelps@wickedlocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @JPhelps_MW.

This news has been published by title Greyhound Friends Wants To Continue Its Mission, Hopkinton Selectmen Say No

If the page you permission is error or not right to use perfectly, divert visit the native web in source CLICK HERE

Thank you for your visit to our website, hopefully the opinion we convey is useful, complete not forget to ration and subscribe our web to acquire more information.

[TAG]1221
Greyhound Friends Wants To Continue Its Mission, Hopkinton Selectmen Say No

Source:Wicked Local

Greyhound Friends Wants To Continue Its Mission, Hopkinton Selectmen Say No

Greyhound Friends Wants To Continue Its Mission, Hopkinton Selectmen Say No

Source:USA Patch

Greyhound Friends Wants To Continue Its Mission, Hopkinton Selectmen Say No

Greyhound Friends Wants To Continue Its Mission, Hopkinton Selectmen Say No

Source:Telegram

Greyhound Friends Wants To Continue Its Mission, Hopkinton Selectmen Say No

Greyhound Friends Wants To Continue Its Mission, Hopkinton Selectmen Say No

Source:USA Patch

Greyhound Friends Wants To Continue Its Mission, Hopkinton Selectmen Say No

Greyhound Friends Wants To Continue Its Mission, Hopkinton Selectmen Say No

Source:Wicked Local

Greyhound Friends Wants To Continue Its Mission, Hopkinton Selectmen Say No