August 3, 2010

Aldermen call for new management at Racine County's humane society

Mary Palmer talks to the City Council on Monday night. The dog pictured is a poodle Palmer rescued from
Countryside Humane Society. 
Two Racine City Council members called for an overhaul of Countryside Humane Society's management on Monday night. 

Alds. Terry McCarthy and Aron Wisneski said Racine County's primary shelter needs new leadership. They both spoke out during council debate over whether Countryside's records are open to public inspection. The City Attorney told the council the city doesn't control the records, but that didn't stop discussion that hinted at growing frustration with how the humane society treats its animals. 

"I believe we need a change in management and direction there," said Wisneski, who said the city may have leverage to dictate the change. "We can say we want you to change your management if you want us to pay your hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees."

Mary Palmer's poodle rescued from
Countryside Humane Society. 
A handful of people spoke against Countryside during the council's public comment period on Monday. Mary Palmer, president and rescue coordinator for Northcentral Maltese Rescue Inc., gave an impassioned speech about rescuing a poodle from Countryside that had been shot and had several broken bones. The dog only saw a vet after Palmer took it home. 

"My question is why did Countryside not provide appropriate care for this dog?" Palmer said. "Why was she allowed to lay there for seven days, long enough for open sores like bed sores to form on her bony hips?"

While the council may have the will to replace Countryside, it may not have any options. 

Ald. Jim Spangenberg said the Finance Committee reviews Countryside's contract every year with the hope that a second provider will appear to take in strays, adopt out pets and provide animal control services. So far, no one other than Countryside has applied, Spangenberg said. 

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