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Healdsburg Animal Shelter directors plead for donations

Directors of the troubled Healdsburg Animal Shelter are appealing to the public for donations to keep the 53-year-old facility operating.

In a commentary published in the Healdsburg Tribune, the board said it needs to increase revenues by more than $200,000 over what it received last year.

Board members said the shelter has exhausted nearly all its operating reserves and the organization needs community support more than ever.

Healdsburg Animal Shelter

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"Right now the need could not be more pressing," stated the commentary signed by five board members. "We need your support to keep the doors to the shelter open."

The plea comes less than six months after the last head of the board of directors, Bill Anderson, presented an upbeat picture to the City Council, saying he was pleased to report the shelter "is a stabilized and much stronger organization than before."

His presentation capped a turbulent year, marked by controversies over the shelter's kill policy, turnover on the board of directors, and a lawsuit over the empty, nearly finished $3.5 million new shelter plagued with construction and design defects.

On Thursday, Healdsburg Mayor Susan Jones said the shelter's apparent financial distress is "unsettling. It sounds like it might have to close."

Jones, president of the separate Green Dog Rescue Project, said she was "more saddened than surprised" by the urgent appeal for support, since the ongoing controversies led to public complaints about the shelter operation, as well as a clamor for more transparency from the board of directors.

On Thursday, both Judi Adams, director of animal services at the Healdsburg Animal Shelter, and office manager Caroline Marker deferred questions to the Board of Directors, who did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

In their commentary, directors blamed the poor economy for affecting donations, as well as causing a spike in the number of unwanted animals coming to the shelter.


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