Friday, January 04, 2008

DCFoF sees big changes - board resignations

I suppose when you can't find the story somewhere else and everyone is asking about it, you might as well tell it yourself. In short, the cats living at the DCFoF enclosure at MadCat-West were not receiving adequate daily care. We define adequate daily care at a minimum to include food, fresh water, two poop-scoops (morning/evening), and some form of human interaction each and every day.

This problem has been continuous, with many promises and excuses made over the years, none of which seemed to really close the care-gap we were seeing. DCFoF leadership refused to commit to our basic care standard, especially the morning/evening cleaning ritual (the most "gruelling" job). When we tried to bring the problem to the attention of the group again recently, our messages were censored from the group as a whole (thanks, Yahoogroups!). (more below)

The censoring of the "wake-up call" message to fellow group members was a big deal. This essentially meant that the problem would get stovepiped, delegated, and avoided yet again. The cats demanded better and so did we. I sent a follow-up to as big a group of names as I had lying around that I knew were members. I'll post this message soon (don't want this post to run too long).

When members started asking the leadership what this was all about, the wagons began to circle. We were attacking the group, throwing out the cats, or threatening to call in animal-control. The care of the cats was the last thing on anyone's mind. Why were these issues being brought up? What is the history of this problem?

In the resulting turmoil, two board-members resigned their positions, citing serious concerns that the board was essentially "rigged" or used as a rubber-stamp for the whims of an inside clique of leaders. Those resigning were frustrated that there was no intention of giving these conerns serious consideration, but rather a desire to attack the messenger and escape the situation.

Since all of this took place, what is left of the board has decided to move the "unsocialized" cats out of the MadCat-West facility and focus remaining resorces on upgrading their friendly-room program (perhaps addressing the issues we were demanding action on).

There are still lots of unresolved issues and raw feelings on both sides at the moment. Many want to know what the future holds for the relationship between DCFoF and MadCat - me as much as anyone. I truly hope this gets fixed and that the group is able to wrestle back control of itself and the care of the cats it serves. In a community that kills 40% of the cats it sees brought to the local shelter, we need to start demanding some real changes in the way our programs and services interact.

more info will come out on this, but the main thing is the cats and whether we have well-led, well-resourced programs to serve their needs. Let's hope we can get there...


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