Thursday, November 22, 2012

KCSPCA Board Meeting November 12, 2012

Ten members of the public attended this meeting:  

Carol Furr / Diane Marks / Lynn Lofthouse / Catherine Samardza / Doug Beatty / Julie Wilson / Rebecca Monroe & her (minor) son / Comm. Jody Sweeny / Crystal Sweeney

As usual, our comments are in italics.  As I entered the room, I heard a board member say something like “look at all those idiots.”  Personally, I don’t think any of us are idiots for wanting to keep tabs on a non-profit agency that has arrest authority over Delaware residents.

The meeting was called to order at about 7:03 PM.  Mavis Newton attended by phone.

Treasurer’s Report/Frank Newton:  The Budget Summary was not out until 6 PM today.  The report is for October, the first month of the fiscal year (October 1-September 30), so there is not much indication of anything.  8 1/3% through the year, 16% of income, expenses of 9.25%.  Nothing unusual to report.  Mr. Moore suggested that this be tabled until the next meeting.  The item was tabled with no formal motion.

Mr. Usilton introduced the “employee of the month,” Sharon Ritter Geyer.  She is the kennel tech supervisor.  Ms. Geyer and Mr. Usilton reviewed information concerning the horses being cared for by the KCSPCA – 5 (out of 7) were impounded due to neglect.  The remaining 2 are in foster care.  It was noted that donations were coming in due to the photo in the newspaper.  The vet would be looking at the horses on November 15; they are already gaining weight.  The 5 horses that were impounded do not have papers.  Mr. Usilton stated that Ms. Geyer is the first point of contact with the animals. Ms. Geyer’s presentation stated that the facilities are cleaned in the morning, but rounds are done all day long.  The kennel techs are in the building until 8:30 PM.  She stated that anyone in the building can walk dogs at any time, except for those in quarantine.  She talked about the “new building” which is 10 years old, saying that it takes 2 people 3 hours to clean the kennels.  There is no outside access for the dogs in that building; ½ of the dogs go into the outdoor runs every other day.  Mr. Moore said that they were looking at capital improvements for the shelter, including block wall runs, and asked if this would help in terms of less disease; Ms. Geyer said yes, also that fresh air would help as well.  She said that the building as heat and air conditioning.  A board member asked how many dogs were in a kennel; It was stated that there is only one dog to a kennel unless it is puppies or a bonded pair.  Mr. Moore noted that the urine smell is not as bad in the kennels, because they are doing a better, more professional job.  He asked about cleaning the dogs; Ms. Geyer said “yeah, we grab’em and clean them, a 5 minute bath.”  She was asked about flea treatments; she said flea treatments were done “if we know there are fleas.”  Mr. Usilton stated that all dogs are on heartworm preventative.  Ms. Geyer has been working at the shelter for over 2 years.  Mr. Moore said “It sounds like you’re doing a good job” and added that the “animals appreciate it.”

KCSPCA staff and supporters have all denied any cleanliness problems in the shelter;  Mr. Moore stating that they are now doing a "better, more professional job" cleaning the kennels would seem to indicate there WAS a problem.  And despite Ms. Geyer’s assertions of how the animals are cared for, we have two recent complaints regarding the lack of physical and medical care of the dogs.  Also, Ms. Geyer was working for the shelter at the time of Ms. Furr’s tour of the kennels in 2011, when the dog Ms. Furr subsequently adopted, along with others she saw, were not receiving adequate care.

Mr. Moore announced that there was no executive committee report, no nominating committee report, that the finance committee report had been given, and moved on to the “planning and objectives committee” report.

Ms. Beth Burleson reported that the committee had one meeting to discuss the meaning and functions of the committee.  They identified the organization strengths and weaknesses to develop opportunities and a strategic plan.  Strengths include their partnership with PetSmart and adoptions; weaknesses include the low-cost spay/neuter  and rabies clincis, because they don’t bring in any money.

The committee felt that the shelter should take the opportunity to solicit donations from people who used the services and get them on a plan to donate regularly, rather than one time.  The shelter has been reactive, not proactive, just maintaining to keep things going.  There will be another meeting on November 20th; she asked that board members e-mail her with ideas on the strengths and weaknesses and opportunities.  The committee wants to identify long-term donors and “lock in” the donor base.  A balance between “the people we serve and the people we support” should be maintained.  If people take advantage of the services, they should support the shelter.  This would be proactive, not reactive.  Mr. Usilton gave an outline of a strategic plan using this concept.

Mr. Moore reiterated that the committee would meet again on November 20th.

We thought that most people who take advantage of low-cost shelter services do so because they want to provide care for their pets but are unable to spend a lot of money.  Asking them to become long-term donors may not be as financially productive as the Board hopes for.

There was discussion on how to fit in all the committee meetings with the holidays coming up.  Mr. Moore asked for the report from the Development and Fundraising committee (Carol Kizner and David Litz)  The committee met to brainstorm ways to raise money, and to develop an event schedule to use for every year.  Suggestions included events such as a train show, auctions, comedy nights, and donating online.  A drive or fund for spay/neuter and food was suggested.  It was noted that some people want to give to a specific program, not a general fund.  That would be easier online.  Workplace matching funds were also mentioned, as well as a workplace basket raffle, breakfast with the board members.

There was some confusion here, with a question from one of the Board members, asking what happened to the “Fundraising committee.”  The Development and Fundraising committee is separate from the original Fundraising committee, which would report later in the meeting.

Good PR, with the same message in everything the shelter does was suggested.  Also grants and appeals, and assigning people to do things for this outreach.

Mr. Moore said they are in the process of separating dog control from the shelter.  He said more money was needed for the shelter, and they had gotten lazy over the last couple of years.  They needed to raise money to keep the shelter running “whether we have dog contracts or not.”

This is the first time anyone at the KCSPCA has indicated that the dog control contract monies were supporting the shelter; previously, their stance (and that of supporters) has been that the shelter was subsidizing dog control.

The Community Outreach/PR committee reported next.  This committee handles press, promotions and community outreach.  They have not yet scheduled a meeting; there was discussion concerning this committee and when it should meet, and who should notify the members.

(I may have the name of this committee wrong, but not the tasks.)

The Legislative committee is Mr. Steve Schwartz, Frank Newton, Alex Moore, Carol Kizner, Elestine Cooper, and Rosemary Richardson.  There was discussion to schedule a meeting of that committee.  It was announced that there were 2 full time lobbyists working against the KCSPCA and the animals, and that they needed to get out there to get their message across.  Someone asked who, which organizations were working against the shelter?  The Humane Society of the United States and the Delaware Veterinary Medical Association were both mentioned as having lobbyists; it was also stated that No-Kill advocates were working to make Delaware the first no-kill state.

(There was no answer as to who the full time lobbyists were or who they were working for.  HSUS and the DVMA are NOT “no-kill” organizations.)

The Fundraising committee reported next on the Oyster dinner.  It was announced that the 50/50 raffle winner donated his winnings back to the shelter.  There was discussion concerning how much money the event raised, but no final figure, because money was still coming in.  They believed it would be about $8,000.00.  The amount of money made was they same @ $22.50 per person as when the cost was $18.00 per person.  Mr. Moore said he would get a list from Ms. Burleson regarding who donated which items.  He reminded the board members to turn in their papers documenting ticket sales, sponsorship and donated items.

It was noted that information on the Fall Festival would be reported on by Mr. Rick Pryor at a future meeting.

It was noted that the fiscal year begain on October 1, and that was as far back as the documentation should go.  Mr. Moore asked if there was any further information on the oyster dinner; the response was that he should get some young people on this.

It was also discusses that there was no photo of the event in the paper, and the question was asked “who is in charge of that?” (sending infrmation to papers.)  It was stated that press releases were sent out on everything, but nothing was getting picked up by the papers.  It was said that the KCSPCA may need to buy space, or get someone to fund ads, if the newspapers were not publishing the info sent to them.

The Executive Director’s report was next.Mr. Usilton reported that in response to DEMA, the KCSPCA manned 3 shelters during the storm that was Hurricane Sandy.  The shelters were in Milford, Dover and Smyrna.  The shelters were manned 24/7 by an animal control officer and another employee.  At $8.00 per hour, that came to about $3,000.00.  Mrs. Betty Mae Hamilton said that should be in the paper; Mr. Usilton said he sent out a press release.  It was noted that the Delware SPCA, which provided similar services in NCC, was mentioned in the paper.  Mr. Usilton said the KCSPCA had been mentioned briefly on television.  It was asked who would pay for this; Mr. Usilton said the KCSPCA would be reimbursed by DEMA. 

He then reported that they sent 4 animal control officers to Seaside Heights/Toms River, NJ in response to a request from the Humane Society of the United States.  Mrs. Hamilton said again, that needs to be in the paper.  She further stated that other organizations are getting credit for what the KCSPCA is doing.  Mr. Usilton stated that HSUS would reimburse the KCSPCA for the work in NJ.

Quickbooks receipts are now available at the front counter.  New security cameras have been installed throughout, including the exterior and kennels.  The old system was renovated.  This was done because of two break-ins last year.

The Grant-in-Aid application was submitted to the General Assembly on November 7; it was due November 8.  The shelter has applied for $6,000.00 for the educational summer camps.

 Mr. Usilton announced he would be attending the Animal Welfare Task Force meeting on Thursday, November 15th @ the Buena Vista conference center.  CAPA/Shelter standards were on the agenda.  Board members asked how often the TF met, and if the public was allowed;  they were told it met once a month.  Mr. Moore said that he had attended one of the meetings; the public was allowed to attend, but only the TF invitees (members) were at the table.  He felt it was a waste of time if you could not contribute.

(Members of the public are allowed to comment at the end of the meeting, and those comments  become part of the record of the TF.)

 Mr. Usilton announced that on Wednesday (11/14) he would be giving a presentation on shelter standards to the veterinarian’s association.  He intended to give the same presentation at the TF meeting on Thurday.

He stated that some CAPA laws are ridiculous and it is why the KCSPCA takes in 5,000 less animals a year.  Documented deaths are down, but undocumented deaths are a problem.  The CAPA laws are shutting doors to resources for (Delaware) residents.

Mr. Usilton then reported that the News Journal has offered the KCSPCA space for a featured pets section, but the KCSPCA would be responsible for selling space @ $75 per spot.  There was further discussion; the DE State News solicits sponsors themselves for the KCSPCA for the featured pet section; the Cape Gazette does it online.  The News Journal expects the KCSPCA to sell the spots.  Mr. Moore suggested soliciting sponsors.  Mr. Usilton explained that it would require 6 sponsors @ $75 per month for an entire year, which is a big commitment. 

Mr. Usilton also reported that the Pet Pantry had served 82 animals, including a horse that was being neglected.  He also stated that the KCSPCA has incurred $193,000 in cruelty costs.

Mr. Moore explained that, despite winning judgements in cruelty cases, the pet owners often declared bankruptcy and then liens would have to be served on their property.  He said the public shouldn’t have to pay for this, the people abusing animals should pay.  If the animals are not signed over to the shelter, and the shelter then has to care for the animals for 60 days; if the owners do not pay, then the shelter can dispose of the animals.  Mrs. Cooper said this should be brought up to the Task Force, that it is a stupid law.  Mr. Moore said that it was important to educate judges about this.  It was also noted that only the DESPCA and KCSPCA are authorized by the State to handle cruelty cases.

Old business:  correction to bylaws changes regarding the membership meeting (section 4.01); one was grammatical, the other was to change the September general meeting to October, to coincide with the start of the new fiscal year and make it better for reporting purposes.  There was a motion and second to accept the changes to the bylaws.

There was some discussion cocnerning committee assignments, and whether or not everyone was assigned to a committee; the answer was yes, all board members had committee assignments.

There was a motion and second to adjourn.

 It was obvious that substantive discussions concerning any issues are now taking place in committee meetings, and being presented at the board meetings as committee reports. 

 Two members of the public who were attending the board meetings with us – one for the first time (and not original members of our group) – commented that it was like “watching a play.”