Monday, December 31, 2007

Abuse At Animal Shelter

Here are the BIG questions:

What is the City doing about it?

Staying quiet. Except for Mayor Stebbins who says to anyone listening that I, and a few others, are "quacks", and that the two ACOs are disgruntled.

What is the City Attorney doing about it?
Staying quiet and doing nothing.

What is the Police Department doing?
It says it's investigating the matter. That would be investigating itself.

What is the Animal Foundation doing?

Trying to rustle up a new group to step in and take over the shelter. This would be a "splinter group" of the Foundation. Same old game, just new players. Nope, won't work.

What is the State doing about requests for help and outside investigation?
The Attorney General's Office says that they only take on investigations requested by law enforcement. (Great to know that's where our tax dollars go)
One of the Asst. AGs is Johnstone, with ties to the Foundation. (Maybe this is the REAL reason this fiasco is not being investigated)
The Governor and Sen. Tester have not deigned to respond to e-mails, faxes, and phone calls.
There is at least one reader of this blog from the Dept. of Administration and one from Helena,
but nothing moves at the State level. (To quote a citizen, "Montana, the last best place for criminals")

What are the people doing?
Quite a bit.

The Town Hall meeting has been arranged.
More Press Releases about this citizens' meeting have been sent to the media around the country.
Animal Advocacy/Rescue/Welfare groups have been alerted about the lack of response by local and state officials, as well as by the Animal Foundation.
A group of citizens have already begun to tour the Shelter with video cameras and notebooks and are documenting everything.
Citizens are gathering evidence and documents, people are talking, and the news is spreading.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Apology to Animal Foundation

This is an open, sincere and profound apology to the Animal Foundation of Great Falls and Mr. Bob James.

I apologize for blogging and stating publicly that all monies collected after the first two years of fund raising by the Animal Foundation of Great Falls be retained by that same entity. (See here) I was wrong. I apologize. What I should have said is all monies collected by the Animal Foundation AFTER June 2005 is the Foundation's to keep and do with as they wish.

For you see, it has been brought to my attention, and supported by documentation and witnesses, that at the April 12, 2005, Neighborhood Council No. 1 meeting the Foundation representative, "Sally Cerny (Volunteer for the Animal foundation of Great Falls and Chuck Tourtillott Director of the Humane Society of Cascade County provided a Power Point presentation about their Capital Campaign and future plans. The foundation is a 501(c) (3) organization meaning it is a non-profit and all donations are tax deductible. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide good care to all pets/animals within the county. Their plans are to build a state of the art Animal Shelter and a dog park. Also they will do on-going fund raising for the Humane Society." Then on 12 May, 2005 the Foundation was still selling the following line to our community - "Animal Foundation - Sally Cerny, Trustee The Animal Foundation provides support for the Humane Society Animal Shelter."

Now, according to individuals who
very recently questioned you about this matter, you stated that it was a "printing error". However, the fact remains that is what was said and I, for one, will hold you to that public pronouncement.

I will also be sure to prominently post this, in toto, at the January 5, 2008, Town Hall meeting as a way of admitting my error as regards dates.

At this juncture I wish to take the opportunity to extend a public invitation for any and/or all of the following -Animal Foundation Board members, elected officials of the City of Great Falls, City of Great Falls Police Department, City of Great Falls Animal Shelter, Spay of the Falls, and/or employees of the City of Great Falls or Cascade County to attend the Town Hall meeting on January 5, 2008 at University of Great Falls, Theater Building, 1301 20th St S., to commence at 7 p.m. so that you may have an opportunity to address the concerns of the citizens of Great Falls.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

GF Animal Shelter Report

Kim Staton, issued a report developed July 23-27, 2007. The City had it. The Animal Foundation had it (though it only recently popped up on their site under links), but both refused to relinquish a copy to the Humane Society of Cascade County, despite numerous requests over several months, until just a few days ago. This time frame would have been just prior to Christmas, but post the Press Conference by Amy Lowe & Jason Dern. This might be a case of too little, too late if both City and Foundation are trying to make themselves look good.

There has been quite a bit of complaining against HSCC, by the City, the Foundation and by some of the public. But, both City and Foundation did nothing to help HSCC and everything to obliterate it. Both the City and Foundation had money, neither helped the animals. The City wanted everything on the cheap, the hell with what the animals required, then AND now. The Foundation wanted a dog park first, the shelter second and the hell with the animals that were/are in need and living now.

Here are some financial and building items from the report, we will cover other areas included in the report at a different time:

The HSCC received $115,000.00 annually since 2002 to run the shelter AND perform Animal Control duties for the City and County. (Ed. - This amount, as discussed below, is woefully inadequate and the HSCC could NEVER perform, nor be expected to perform, their duties on this amount. All complaints about animals under HSCC care must be evaluated in light of this truth and the information below.)

The Foundation has been raising money for a new shelter for almost 5 years. NOT ONCE in all that time, did the Foundation allocate a percentage of raised monies to go to the HSCC for the interim daily needs of the animals as we waited for the new shelter to become reality. Where is their concern for animal care in all of this???? Where is the new shelter? The Dog Park money could have been given to the HSCC for immediate needs in all areas.

The Staton Report states, "The 2006 total operational budget for the Great Falls Animal Shelter inclusive of the Animal Control program was just over $300,000.00. This included monies received from the City of Great Falls in the amount of $115,000.00. The remainder of the budget was generated through various fees such as pet licensing, owner reclamations, adoptions, etc."

"Based on recommendations by the Humane Society of the United States, funding levels for animal shelter/control programs should be $4.00-$7.00 per capita per year and even though recent funding levels fell within this range, it was clearly insufficient (see discussion {discussion was about age and decrepitude of current building..."the existing shelter is outdated and in desperate need of replacement...even with extensive not salvageable as an animal shelter"}) It is important to note this is for a basic program and may not include community outreach, education, volunteer, foster, pet owner assistance, community spay/neuter programs, etc....

"...current estimated population of Great Falls is 60,000, this would mean that a level of funding of $240,ooo-$420,000 would be appropriate for these basic services...however, it is my opinion that funding should be closer to the $7.00 per capita range or $420,000.00."

"However, the level of funding offered by the City has not met even the minimal recommendation for funding of $240,000.00 per year. Since animal control, from a public safety standpoint, is truly a government responsibility, it stands to reason that this minimal level of funding should be provided by the government.

" is also appropriate to expect that City and Country government entities would each provide funding based on a per capita rate."

"...County population, exclusive of Great Falls, to be approximately 20,000. Consequently the minimal level of funding provided by the County towards the cost of the Animal Control/Shelter programs should be...$50,000 per year. This combined government totals at a minimal level of funding...would be $290,00.00. Assuming a total operational budget of $420,000, this would leave $130,000 left to be generated through adoptions, reclamations, licensing, fundraising, and donor development and would become the responsibility of the oversight organization."

1. Regardless of who is operating the shelter/animal control program in the future, an absolute minimal level of funding should be $420,000.
2.The City and County provide funding at the $4.00 per capita rate if a non-profit group assume operation responsibilities. If the City assumes long term responsibility for the operation of the shelter and Animal Control program, the entire $420,000 amount would become their responsibility."

Ed. - The building in which the shelter is housed is owned by the City of Great Falls. It is not adequate, in many areas, as a shelter. BUT, as a city-owned building, it then becomes the City's responsibility, does it not, to maintain as much of it's physical integrity as possible in order to adequately care for the animals? They have failed to do this.

The Staton report recommendations cite the following shelter building inadequacies, which the City has YET to take care of to my knowledge, though they should have:

Have concrete floors in existing shelter repaired and resealed.
Light fixtures should be inspected, repaired as needed, and covers installed to protect them from moisture.
Purchase at least one bank, 12 cages, of larger stainless steel cat cages even if it means removing and not using some of the existing smaller cages.
Have the ductwork throughout the building professionally cleaned and also determine whether repairs or improvements can be made to a/c system to increase air exchange/flow into animal housing areas.

Quick Recap:

The HSCC was grossly underfunded, in an inadequate facility that the City failed to make repairs on in order to be able to meet and maintain the barest minimum of animal care.

The Animal Foundation of Great Falls failed to allocate funds to off-set the HSCC annual shortfall OR help with the interim, daily requirements to ease the burden of both animals and humans within the Shelter environment.

Did the County contribute anything in the way of operational funds, over and above their salary payment of an ACO, to the HSCC for providing a service to the county residents? (I don't have an answer to that as of yet...)

The City of Great Falls, The Animal Foundation of Great Falls, and Spay of the Falls would have you believe the fault all lies with the HSCC, when in truth it was a resource problem. All three of these entities, IN TANDEM AS WELL AS TOGETHER, took and controlled the financial resources of the community for their personal goals and gain, but NONE of these entities actually SHARED THOSE RESOURCES with the HSCC in order to truly help the animals in the shelter. These three groups are now running the Great Falls animal shelter - and things are considerably worse.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

City Shelter Donations

If you wrote a check as a donation to the Humane Society of Cascade County and handed it over to the City Shelter between July 4, 2007 and Dec. 25, 2007, would you please make a copy of both the front and the back and email, mail it (Susan Overfield, 251 Gordon Rd, Vaughn MT 59487) or bring it to the Town Hall Meeting.

TOWN HALL MEETING - JANUARY 5, 2008 - University of Great Falls Auditorium, 7 pm. All citizens are invited. It's free. It will be ONLY about The Animals of Great Falls.
Tell your friends and please plan to show up. (This is being paid for by a private citizen)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Shelter Information

What isn't being said:

Amy Lowe & Jason Dern, at the Sept. training they were sent to by the CITY in WA, were CERTIFIED in Animal Cruelty Investigation (lg animal, however, the investigative procedures remain the same as for small animals).

The City Budget has been released and the City is has still budgeted $115,000.00 for the Humane Society of Cascade County (I suggest that this money be handed over to the HSCC on January 2, 2008. If not, I think an investigation into fraudulent practices or malfeasance by the City take place.) Was that money going to be handed over to the police instead of the identified recipient? {See Electric City Weblog for more lengthy piece on the money}

The vet which administered the heart-stick is Keller (sources have confirmed this).

The newspaper has failed to reveal the general type and number of documents distributed to ALL press members at the press conference. The packet included, but was not limited to, 14 photo copies of animal shelter intake records which included impound date, adoption available date and actual kill date. As well as copies of e-mails (dates sent and responses received) to various entities requesting help in this issue.

This Journal of Commission Work Sessions, Oct. 2, 2007 is very enlightening, particularly in view of the emphasis on HOW THE SHELTER LOOKS. Also, there is a statement regarding the fact that "there is no systematic euthanization being done at the shelter". (No truer words may ever have been spoken.)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Response for Contact Information

Here are some of the contacts you all e-mailed me and requested:

Donna Stebbins
Gloria LaMott
Jamie Bennett
Bob James
Bryan Lockerby

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics


The face of truth, as it applies to those individuals and groups involved with running the shelter, has been exposed. It is now up to the people to see it for what it is and decide what to do.

First...there will be a TOWN HALL MEETING - JANUARY 5, 2008 - University of Great Falls Auditorium, 7 pm. All citizens are invited. It's free. It will be ONLY about The Animals of Great Falls.
Tell your friends and please plan to show up. (This is being paid for by a private citizen)

The first response for the majority of people has been compassion for the animals, followed by horror and shock, sadness and heartbreak. Some people have been shocked and taken a cautious stance. Yet, still they voice concern and worry for the animals.

For the remaining few, the response is Arrogance, Lies, Attacks, Silence and Deflection. These are the people most involved in the shelter, its operation, and the treatment of the animals.

Who are they?

Donna Stebbins - Arrogance...that is the manner in which she first handled this entire disclosure. She displays how she truly feels. The spin she's putting on this morning is just that, a save-her-ass response. We are not speaking of what may be talked about in the way of legal investigation and what may be disclosed. We are talking about her real feelings. A normal, concerned, caring person's initial response would be along the lines of 'my first concern is for the animals. I have gone to the shelter/told the shelter that they will have an outside agency monitoring them as of this moment until such time as we discover the truth'. That she did not respond with this kind of feeling, care and responsibility as a person and elected official indicates that she does NOT CARE ABOUT THE ANIMALS, ONLY HER OWN REAR END. Couple that with her arrogance and you have a disaster. Lies...first thing she tried to lie about was the two Animal Control Officers. She tried to make you all think that Jason Dern had been in trouble for smoking pot. REALLY? You don't think THAT would have made the papers? If it were true, why isn't there documentation to back it up? Why was he allowed to continue working? Attacks...first response was to attack Amy Lowe publicly. To spin the entire horrible mess as a disgruntled employee issue. Get a grip! How many disgruntled employees go public like this ?- AND OFFER DOCUMENTS TO BACK UP WHAT THEY ARE SAYING. Silence...after her first, I don't-give-a-care, arrogant reaction she shut up. The first response was real. The silence was because she was running around the City Halls trying to figure a plan of damage control. She was down at the shelter with Bennett within 2 hours of the press conference holding a closed-door meeting - wow! she does that a LOT. Deflection...this morning she began this. It's the Humane Society, they were horrible. They did this. They did that. It sounds like a 2-year old trying to pin the broken window on the sibling. The murderer/thief/rapist trying to lay the blame for their actions on their parents and how they were raised.

Holy Hal - Gloria LaMott - that's right. Holy Hal is Gloria LaMott, close friend of Donna Stebbins. Arrogance...Holy Hal is Gloria LaMott - in charge of Spay of the Falls where so many cats died because she wouldn't follow health and safety procedure. Lies...
Holy Hal is Gloria LaMott - whom rumor has it has had ALL postings pulled from the Tribune blog about the Shelter articles as she libeled Nora Norum and the HSCC and the Trib received a complaint, which was backed by documentation, showing that Holy Hall/Gloria LaMott lied and was openly breaking the part of the blog contract which states one agrees to not use the forum for libel. All I can say about this is; yesterday her posts were there, then they weren't. Attacks...Holy Hal is Gloria LaMott - who whenever anything is said that she doesn't like she attacks the person via a blog (Electric City Weblog is a perfect case in point), bad-mouthing, personal denigration and public promises of destruction (HSCC, and according to sources, me). Silence...I can't truly say I've ever heard Holy Hal/Gloria LaMott stay silent. Deflection...her posting at the Trib was all about the HSCC and Nora Norum and how bad they were - NOT ONE WORD OF COMPASSION OR CARE ABOUT WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO THE ANIMALS NOW. Just how bad others were.

Animal Foundation of Great Falls - Arrogance...the arrogance which accompanies a group which begin by raising funds for a shelter for the Humane Society of Cascade County and then establishes it's own little dynasty, at the expense of the very group it used to get started, offends me. I suggest that all the McLean seed money (400k) and all funds for the first two years of the Foundation's fund raising, be turned over to the HSCC for whom it was raised. Anything after the first two years is the Foundation's to keep and do with as they wish. But, I gave my in-kind services for auction at the Fur Ball for the Humane Society of Cascade County, NOT for the Foundation to have their own little closed corporation, but for the HSCC for ALL of the county. Lies...when a group tells you they are raising money for the HSCC's new shelter, but plans to do things differently, that's a lie. When a group tells you that they do not intend to "run" the new shelter, but are working with their own sub-groups within the City to insure that ONLY whom THEY want take over operations, then that's a lie. When a group tells you that they care for animals, but stand by and do nothing when the animals are in trouble, then that's a lie., my, my...The Foundation says so much when it comes to articles in the Trib that are negative against the HSCC, when fund raising time rolls round, when they want a DOG PARK. But, on the REAL life-and-death issues faced by our animals they are SILENT. Deflection...Keep selling the Dog Park so that the people of GF will believe you care about animal welfare. Do we really need a Dog Park for the dogs which have loving homes and owners while dogs are dying? Which is the MORE IMPORTANT? Doing "good" at the expense of innocent animals' lives IS NOT DOING GOOD, I don't care how pretty you make the building they will die in or how big the dog park is.

City of Great Falls
...this includes the Police Department, the City Attorney and anyone else involved. Arrogance...That the elected officials and a small group within the employment of the City feel they can pass anything, spend any amount, move money anytime, for any reason and ignore our concerns, questions and expectations is hubris and arrogance. This group has it in spades. Lies...there is not enough room to enumerate the lies told by these people. The Animal Shelter, SME, the budget, THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE DOCUMENTED CRUELTIES OF THE ANIMALS...lies, lies, lies. How can the police investigate their own honestly???? Shades of Chicago, New York and LA. History buffs know how corrupt those towns were. Silence...these problems have been addressed publicly, at City Commission meetings, by individuals, by phone complaints and on blogs. The City has stayed silent. Maybe they're taking a page from their own book...You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Deflection...we are looking into it. The allegations are being investigated. Funny, these issues have been publicly talked about by citizens since July 2007, HOW LONG WILL THEY INVESTIGATE BEFORE THEY REACH A DECISION...they will investigate until WE demand an outside source do the investigating and WE demand the truth and WE demand this mess be cleaned up by ridding GF of the corruption and special-interests.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What WASN'T Heard

By this time I'm certain the majority of you have read about, or seen on television, the press conference called by Animal Control Officers, Amy Lowe and Jason Dern.

It went on for quite a while, most of it will not be seen or heard. There was a packet which included copies of documents corroborating statements made. Citizens in attendance have already begun to make and distribute to others, the entire, 1" thick dossier of horror. I've included just a few pertinent pages. (see below) They are also spreading the call for a Town Hall Meeting on the animal issue to be held in January, date and time to be announced. (Wow, guys, it wasn't even me that called for it! Way to go!)

Mr Ecke, of the Great Falls Tribune, after the conference approached a person said he felt "this was a personal vendetta." The individual to whom he spoke was under the distinct impression that he was referring to me and this conference as a vendetta against the mayor and the Animal Foundation.

Let me make this clear and on record. I am not the person who called the press conference. I am not the person who disclosed these specific facts revealing this ugly, nasty group for what they are. I am not the person, though I have said this for many months, who stated that the Animal Foundation, the City, the mayor, specific individuals, the Spay of the Falls, the Police Dept. are ALL manipulating this shelter issue to their personal desires and advantage, and KNEW AND WHAT WAS TAKING PLACE.

Mr. Ecke, your are right, however, it IS personal. The animal that died in terror took it VERY personally at that moment. I take it personally that the above groups sell their caring attitude toward animals, as well as their exalted (non) knowledge, all the while allowing, even condoning this atrocity and barbarous (YES, that's what it is and I am LIVID) behavior to happen. As a citizen I am taking it personally that all of this amoral, illegal, and criminal activity occurred in
this town, stealing and using my tax dollars, that these people believe themselves to be above the law, that the newspaper is VERY selective in what it reports, that all of these entities have no respect for us. I take it VERY personally that these people committed what I view as MURDER and theft in MY town. I am outraged.

What WASN'T heard, and will probably NOT be read about is the following:

Eye-witness account of Mayor Donna Stebbins standing in the "cat room" of the Shelter while the dogs screamed during the heart-sticking procedure and doing NOTHING. "She couldn't fail to hear or know what was happening. You couldn't miss the screams of the dogs." Quote by witness. (I would call that Felony Abuse under the law).

That the Great Falls Animal Foundation, the City of Great Falls officials, the Police Dept., were and are all aware of what was happening in the shelter as they are ALL involved in running and/or making decisions regarding the shelter. A letter included in the documents is on Shelter stationary and begins -"The Great Falls Animal Shelter is one of three entities involved in the reorganization of the Animal Shelter." When queried as to the other two entities they were confirmed as the Animal Foundation and Spay of the Falls.

That many people of GF still believed the Shelter to be under the Humane Society of Cascade County, made donation checks out to the HSCC, gave it to Shelter employees and those checks NEVER reached the HSCC. One was from Smith's Grocery store and was witnessed as being made out to the HSCC, with the police officer's name on the "notation" line, and handed over. (Correct me, please, all of you lawyers, but isn't that a criminal offense?????)

That Dave Pauli, Regional HSUS, known both for his position with the HSUSA and his openly chummy relationship with Foundation board members, was contacted on Dec 3, 2007 regarding this issue and counseled patience and not to go public. "That your issues need to be addressed by...the police chief and maybe the Animal Foundation of Great Falls...rather than go to the media."(e-mail copies are available)

That Melanie Lattin, has been told numerous times by ACOs about many of the health and safety hazards as regards the Dog Park, and in direct disregard of these serious concerns and warnings, stated in the presence of witnesses, "I don't care. We're going to have this Dog Park."

The two witnesses, both with extensive and diverse animal career backgrounds, have made the comment that Ms. Lattin knows nothing about dogs, their related health and behavior issues and, therefore, should not be in charge of the Dog Park. Yet, because the City, the mayor, Ms. LaMott and the Animal Foundation are all working closely together behind the scenes and hand-picking who gets what in all of this, she'll be allowed to continue, even to the detriment of animals.

The following were notified about the Press Conference and sent information about the shelter and the abuses, cruelties and deaths:

LA Times
Seattle Times
Denver Post
Rocky Mountain News
CBS National News
48 Hours
U.S. Animal Protection Organization
Humane Society U.S. National Office
Animal Legal Defense Fund
MT. Governor's Office
Attorney Gen. of MT

Sunday, November 18, 2007

ALERT - Do Not Adopt to these People

This is an alert which came to me via various shelters & rescues that contact me.

Please notify all people/groups that you might know. These individuals WILL attempt out-of-area adoption.


Tony & Rebecca Williams (e-mail: ) claim to have a rescue
in Rocky Mount, NC and are trying to get dogs from all over the Eastern
Seaboard. (She offered to take 14 dogs since Monday) She continues to take dogs,
most are pit bulls, with some offers to adopt Presa Canarios, Rottwiellers,
Dobermans, and Wolf hybrids.
In addition, she had previously posted that her roommate was looking for a
Great Dane or Great Dane mix.
She also posted that she was "desperate" for a Chihuahua and she
really wanted a Mini Pin and a Jack Russell.

She claims her rescue is a pit bull rescue, but another pit rescuer
called the local Animal Control. Animal Control's comments:
"She's been barred from taking any dogs from the shelters in her area. He
also said she has a long criminal history, has been selling Pit Bulls on
street corners for 15 or 20 dollars and has been under investigation for dog

Atlantic Rescue has now banned her, after finding out this information.
These are the breeds she has asked for:
a.. Pit Bulls
b.. Rottwiellers
c.. Dobermans
d.. Presa Canarios
e.. Tea Cup Chihuahuas
f.. Jack Russell Terriers
g.. Shar Peis
h.. Min Pin
i.. Great Dane (Pure Breed or Mix)

She uses the little dogs as bait! Please cross post
Please check for your breed above and notify all rescues.
They are going out of their area looking for dogs to adopt.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Crockett's Statement Still Appropriate in our Time

Ongoing to the post on GGuy's site, here, was a referral response, here

A few appropriate portions from Crockett's discourse are below and very germane to the current donation, the Animal Foundation, Stebbins and the City.

It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle...If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose."

"There are...many very wealthy men--men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it...Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

CSP - City Spending Network

Greg Smith's post at ECW had an interesting letter from Bob James to the City. See it here

Now look closely at the first paragraph, folks, because it's is so-o-o intriguing - and illuminating - if you know what you're looking at.

You'll notice that Bob James said 'thank you' for the donation of $5,000 for the Spay Neuter Task Force.

That would be the SAME task force that Donna Stebbins and her good friend, Gloria LaMott, are seriously involved in.

Gloria LaMott would be the SAME person who departed the Humane Society of Cascade County issuing public statements about her intent to destroy the HSCC.

The HSCC would be the SAME group that submitted a bid for Animal Control Contract with the City along with the Police Department.

The Police Dept. would be the SAME group
whose Police Chief, Corky Grove, reviewed the bids, as well as submitted a Police Dept. bid, which was decided upon by the Bid Award Committee.

This would be the SAME Bid Award Committee that he and Donna Stebbins were on (and Donna was publicly heard to say
she "would do everything in my power to make sure the shelter's not awarded the contract" (Animal Control) on June 17 or 18, 2000) and who sent their decision about the bid award/extension to the Commissioners.

The Commissioners are the SAME group
who had one member, Jovik-Kunz, who is related by marriage to Corky Grove, and unanimously voted to extend the bid award date and allow the police to take over the shelter.

This would be the SAME shelter, once run by the HSCC, which is deemed inadequate and that the Animal Foundation of Great Falls seeks donations
, which they originally claimed were intended for the HSCC's new shelter, in order to replace

The Animal Foundation would be the SAME group which recently merged/absorbed the Spay of the Falls/Spay Neuter Task Force.

That would be the SAME Spay task force which just received a $5,000 "donation" from the City of Great Falls.

That would be the SAME city of which Donna Stebbins is Mayor.

The mayor would be the SAME person who received election donations from Robert James and Cindy James.

Robert James would be the SAME person as the President, Board of Trustees of the Animal Foundation of Great Falls.

That would be the SAME Foundation which just wrote a thank you letter for the City donating $5,000
for the Spay Neuter Task Force.

I suggest we all learn this song...

Round, like a circle in spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel.....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Greg Smith's Post & Discuss

Greg Smith, of Electric City Weblog, has an interesting blog up here

My response to his last post is here below.

Greg, Wolfpack wrote, "Why was the money that went to the HSCC any different as far as an appropriate city expenditure?"

My response, "The HSCC had an Animal Control contract and received payment for services rendered in that capacity. The Animal Foundation has what contract? Their original sales pitch and printed statement was 'to raise funds to build a new shelter for THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF CASCADE COUNTY.'" I don't believe there was a red herring, but that perhaps you were confused as I didn't refer my answer. Sorry.

Your statement, "Support for the Foundation is a stated goal of the Commission. Agree or not, it’s one of their goals. My question is how we got from a goal to a stated dollar amount", must be looked on in the broad perspective as to how the Commission got the goal in the first place. It must be followed closely by how legitimate are the means by which the City & Foundation achieve that/those goals.

Basing skepticism on the current City Officials' behavior as applies to other goals they've set, it is reasonable to expect questioning by the citizens due to the City's less than stellar openness, honesty and civility, as pertains to its various activities and at taxpayers' expense, all of which have clearly been documented to benefit a named few. This entire takeover of the animal shelter and $5,000 donation, then, stands as an extension of another shining example of that same shell game. Dare I name it? OK.

It looks to me as if the Foundation was not raising funds fast enough, for whatever reason, and this merging or interplay of City & Foundation was a means to accelerate the fund-raising process via passing it off to become the taxpayers' burden. There might even have been some bad personal blood on the part of ex-patriot HSCC Board members which helped make this City/Foundation connection viable. This might have been totally acceptable, but for the closed-door and irregular practices exhibited by the City, the Commission and Donna Stebbins and documented by others.

Here is an abbreviated time line that is interesting.

  • McLean in her will donates $400k, I believe to be allocated by the lawyer, in 2002 I believe.
  • It's offered to the HSCC, they state they cannot with the limited manpower do the fund-raising, and to issue it to their fund-raising arm, the Foundation, as seed money.
  • The Foundation promotes & maintains it's their mission to raise funds for a new HSCC shelter. They printed it on EVERYTHING.
  • About a year later, the Foundation shuts up about an HSCC shelter. HSCC gets the Animal Control bid from the city to expire in 2007.
  • Two+ years ago, Gloria LaMott, in direct conflict with HSCC Board mandates, makes a public statement to the Trib. She subsequently is off the Board. She is heard to publicly claim she'll "take the HSCC down and destroy it." She is friends with Donna Stebbins who becomes mayor. They then become highly active in the Spay of the Falls.
  • Land is granted last year to the Foundation for the shelter.
  • Early this year, Melanie Lattin, a city employee becomes a certified trainer. Certification will be claimed to be needed at the future Foundation shelter. (Will this job be opened for public application or, because the Foundation will claim it's a private non-profit, will they simply hire Melanie? Which, by the way, is their right to hire without public application as they aren't part and parcel of the City and don't fall under their hiring practices. But, the Foundation and City are certainly running both sides of the coin here. Private non-profit with what seems to be open access to city coffers and perks).
  • This year, the bid is opened for Animal Control, only two entities bid - HSCC & Police. $330k+ separate their bids w/the Police the high bid & no infrastructure to implement their bid. (The Police Dept. will subsequently use the HSCC property as they are unprepared to take over the Animal Control. I find it interesting that they are the higher bid, are unable to produce infrastructure and the taxpayers are asked for donations to the shelter, YET they are awarded the bid.)
  • Corky Grove, along w/Stebbins, sit on the bid review committee and award committee. His dept./he submits the Police bid. (I believe there are laws about conflict of interest as apply to bid procedures)
  • At a Commission Work meeting, documented by Jolley, Stebbins requests the removal of the HSCC board. It is stated 'Stebbins' people are not ready to take over' and run the shelter.
  • The Bid Award date is extended by 30 days on June 19th. I speak about all this on June 19th.
  • The Trib prints 'allegations' against the HSCC which it states are NOT substantiated. (Now the local paper is in on this on the side of the City & Foundation. I thought that journalism was to promote the truth, not unsubstantiated accusations, particularly NOT to slant support toward an action taken by the City. Oh, well, so much for truth in reporting.)
  • A private power-point meeting takes place between Bob James, the HSCC Board and a few others. James states he will extend "the considerable equity accrued with the Trib and City to halt the negative coverage of the HSCC if it will merge, in its entirety, with us, the Foundation" (that is very close to a direct quote, though paraphrased). HSCC declines. (Entirety. I take this to mean the money that the HSCC has in its acct. which is a fair sized amount & would bring the Foundation much closer to achieving its monetary goal - and please remember that the Foundation was NOT happy with the fact the HSCC did NOT donate to them. My question is: Why would the HSCC donate to its own shelter? Isn't their financial needs issue one of the primary reasons the Foundation began to raise the money FOR the new shelter?)
  • The Foundation makes a public statement in the Trib that 'another entity' will run the new shelter. (If it won't be the Humane Society of Cascade Cnty for whom they raised the funds for the new shelter, then whom will it be? And please don't try to tell me they don't already know who that will be)
  • Spay of the Falls merges with the Foundation. (This would be Donna Stebbins and Gloria LaMott. I predict that the Foundation will state that since Gloria has run Spay of the Falls that it gives her the background to run the future shelter & she'll be named Shelter Mgr/Director - of course, this was openly read by me at the June 19th City Commission meeting, so it's nothing new.)
  • Considerable complaints against the way the City Animal Shelter is handling animals and their treatment of the public takes place from July 4th to present and NOTHING IS DONE ABOUT IT. However, these SAME kinds of complaints were the basis for Donna Stebbins insisting that the HSCC was NOT doing a good job and needed to be removed.
  • Bob & Cindy James each make a donation to Stebbins' election fund (Yes, I know they have every right under the sun to do so, and they may exercise that right with impunity. But, in this case, it is interesting. Coincidences usually are.)
  • The day AFTER the election the $5,000 donation to the Foundation takes place. (Now why is it if this were on the up-and-up, Stebbins, the Commissioners and the City didn't make this donation public and/or give this to the Foundation BEFORE the election? Why wasn't this discussed in a City Commission meeting? Are there not laws to be followed for this type donation/expenditure? Could it be they needed to insure they were in office again? And, why would they need to insure that? If it's a valid City action and a valid donation, who cares who's in office?)

I have a hard time believing it as truth that a person or group claiming they care about animals, does nothing when there are complaints on the animals' behalf - especially by the entity, in this case the Foundation, which promotes how much it cares.

Come to your own conclusions, but I don't think it takes a Mensa member to see what's happening here.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Hartz Recalls Vitamins due to Salmonella

The Hartz Mountain Corporation is recalling one specific lot of Hartz
Vitamin Care for pets due to concerns that one or more bottles within
the lot may have been potentially contaminated with Salmonella. Hartz
is fully cooperating with the US Food and Drug Administration in this
voluntary recall.

For more specific info on this recall please visit:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Feed A Rescued Animal

This is pretty simple... Please tell ten friends to tell ten today! The Animal Rescue Site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals.

It takes less than a minute (How about 20 seconds) to go to their site and click on the purple box "fund food for animals" for free. This doesn't cost you a thing.

Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising.

Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know.

The Animal Rescue Site

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bullsh** U - Our Great Fall Courses

The following great fall courses will be offered:

There will be no journalism offered. However, if you have passed Building Your Ego 101, Big Fish-Little Pond Politics, Small Town Theanthropic Theorum (4) or can clep either Advanced Material & Social Palm Greasing or Co-opting the Fourth Estate AND be willing to offer either monetary or in-kind remuneration, the Dean of Journalism will be certain to print ONLY what you want in the school paper.

This course will cover how to convince the people to do whatever you wish. The classroom doors for this course will be closed at all times and note taking is strictly prohibited. All course work, including mock meetings, networking sessions with the Political Communication, Journalism and Public Oratory Skills students, as well as the final test, will be oral ONLY.

You will learn to fluently curse constituents, how to effectively slam phones down on callers, master the regal art of hand waving for a variety of political uses such as calling the school security to your aid and removal of unwanted individuals from your presence, master blank stares for use in public meetings, learn the fine art of public temper tantrums, and how to quickly issue orders for such necessary political communiques such as deleting of files, disappearance of paperwork, stonewalling requested information, revision of public meeting reports and total recreation of paper trails. Prerequisite courses: Public Oratory Skills, History of the One Man Dynasty OR Women of Poor Self-esteem and their Role in Politics and Fund Raising and at least one agricultural lecture course, i.e., 'How to Get Funding for Your Own Personal Shelter', 'The Expected Number of Animal Deaths Acceptable Ratio for Development of a Dog Park' or 'How to Convince the Neighbors You're Doing Something Good For the Animals When You Have No Animal Skills or Knowledge'.

Learn how to stage hostile take-overs of non-profit organizations and what it takes to successfully insert your family, friends or business associates, to whom you owe or promise favors, into jobs that were held by others. Master the art of working with those who have ulterior motives, questionable ethics, hidden connections and a degree in Self-Serving Hubris.

The first half of this course covers the small, but interesting, tribe of the Wannabe. Learn their social mores and taboos such as, how wealth DOES make a difference in the Wannabe culture, their back scratching ritual, the annual suck-up festival and their convoluted and incestuous relationships with their nearest neighbor, the Iknowiam, a hostile tribe with a fanatic religion that emphasizes self-Godlike delusion, shunning, repression of those not of their group, denial and falsehood. The final for this course will involve a paper comparing the two societies and their interrelatedness and how it adversely affects/effects the other populace in the region, both human and animal.

This course will cover how to build a solid relationship with any of the media, how to suppress information by networking, how to create disinformation that really works, as well as how many times one must repeat a lie to make it truth.

Our Theater Department wishes to announce that try-outs for the part of the Asp in 'Cleopatra' will be held after the holidays (this is a woman's part).
Also, that they are in need of an ass for their holiday tableau.


Friday, October 19, 2007

"Shut the fuck up, you creepy asshole"

This verbatim quote was made by Mayor Donna Stebbins yesterday in response to a citizen who called her.

The Great Falls Animal Shelter staff arrived at work to find a cat in a crate upon the front doorstep. How long it had been there is anyone's guess. Attached to the crate was a note which read, "Please take care of Mishka, I can not do it any longer" (paraphrase).

A local individual involved in a private cat rescue group intent on keeping cats out of the shelter due to the high number of kills was given the cat by shelter personnel. The cat was sitting in a crate filled with feces, covered by it and no one at the shelter had taken it out of the crate to aid it, despite the fact no one was certain how long it had been IN the crate to begin with. The Shelter personnel had no idea how long it had been without water or food, either.

The individual called the mayor to complain about the Shelter's inhumane treatment of the cat. A witness heard the complaint voiced, then heard Mayor Donna Stebbins say, "Shut the fuck up, you creepy asshole"and hang up on the individual.

The mayor's caring and concerned reply as regards the cat and its treatment at the Great Falls Animal Shelter is indicative of the quality of response by our city administrators. The fact that Stebbins is an official of Spay of the Falls, which is now a subgroup of the Animal Foundation of Great Falls, and ALL claim to care for the welfare of the animals leaves me very worried indeed and many, who now know of this incident, extremely angry.

Donna Stebbins and the City pushed hard and fast to get control of that animal shelter. The Foundation seemed to be all for the city running the shelter as evidenced by witnesses of private meetings and "quotes" given to the Tribune. This is what these two entities consider to be better animal care than the HSCC?

Let me get this straight...

This is what animal welfare in Great Falls has come to under the umbrella of the Foundation, the official of the city AND Spay of the Falls, and the Great Falls Animal Shelter?

"At least now we're down to two" animal welfare groups in the city, she (Cerny) said. "...the foundation's goal is for the shelter to try to find homes for all adoptable animals."

The mayor's behavior and response then, must be the "high standards" Cerny spoke about in the Trib article.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007



October 20th, Saturday
6 p.m.
University of Great Falls Theater Building
1301 20th St South


The Citizens' Meeting Where You Can Ask Any Question of the Candidates

Candidates/Incumbents Confirmed to Attend:

Susan Kahn
Ed McKnight
Stuart Lewin
Mary Jolley
Larry H. Steele

Declined participation due to previous commitment:

Bill Bronson
Diane Kuntz
Elna Hensley

No response as of this date:

Donna Stebbins

Friday, October 12, 2007

Raining Cats & Dogs - Can the Umbrella Take It?

The Foundation has taken Spay of the Falls under its umbrella. What will they do? Will they make Gloria LaMott ala Spay clean up its act?

Gloria LaMott and Donna Stebbins are two of the officials for Spay of the Falls. This group was originally under the auspices of Montana Spay Neuter Task Force.

However, Gloria threw out the MSTF book of procedures and decided to wing it. She does this frequently. Consider that time she decided to publicly announce that the vast majority of Polejewski's dog would need to be put down as they were vicious. Two trainers did temperament testing and she was so wrong. But, it didn't stop her from making her pronouncement from on high.

In May, she opted NOT to follow the mandate in the book that ALL animals must be vaccinated prior to the Spay Clinic. A vaccination clinic should be offered a few weeks prior to spaying.

Because of her unwillingness to follow safety procedures for all animals, 90 cats died as a result of a fast spreading disease. LaMott tries hard to foist that little killing spree off on an HSCC shelter cat and claims this is why no more shelter cats will be taken into her spay clinics.

REALLY? And just how did she determine it was an HSCC cat? Autopsies?

The only thing which can be shown, clearly, is Ms LaMott chose NOT to follow the procedure set up for the health, safety and care of all animals. Her hubris resulted in 90 cats' deaths.

"The foundation wants to be sure that whatever group is picked to run the new shelter will be fiscally responsible and will meet high standards, Cerny said." (Trib article Tues. 9, 2007)

Well, I guess the Foundation is hoping to pull in more money by taking Spay of the Falls under its wing. And, I guess that killing off 90 cats due to inability to follow health & safety procedures constitutes a high standard. Is it the killing standard attempting to be reached by the current shelter and/or the future one?

Hmmm......Let me try to recall what it is I said at the City Commission meeting, June 19th...Oh, yeah! "It is my personal opinion that what is transpiring here this evening is a sub-rosa or behind-the-scenes agenda in which specific people are manipulating the bid and awarding process for personal gain, closed corporation tactics and ignoring fiscal responsibility and animal welfare...
All this put together leads me to one conclusion. The bid award is co-opted and possibly already predetermined by an unseen committee which is interested in assuring the Foundation complete control and the city the ability to circumvent or ignore actual bid and awarding procedures. The Directorship of the new shelter seems to be a foregone conclusion if Ms. LaMott’s statements are to be taken as truth. "

Gloria LaMott, Donna Stebbins, The Foundation. Now they are all together as predicted. Can that umbrella withstand the hail storm?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

13 Dogs Killed for Mayor & Commissioners' Tour


In ONE day.

13 dogs killed the day before the Mayor and Commissioners' tour of the shelter.

Great Falls Animal SHELTER.

The Tribune didn't report THAT.

The Mayor says all looks GREAT.

"Lockerby said the city has been working to improve the shelter's records and better statistics will be available shortly." (Tribune, Tuesday 9, 2007)

The Foundation certainly isn't saying or doing anything about it.

So much for care of the the animals.

Liars & Traitors Beware - Oh, My!

Interesting Trib Article yesterday ("Alignment unites two animal welfare groups" Richard Ecke). I was inundated with discussion about it and I thought I'd quote a few observations here for you:
"Saw the article about the animal shelter in today’s paper and Ric’s comments. Think some people are trying to save their asses before the election?"

"Does the Foundation believe we don’t remember that they began so that the HUMANE SOCIETY could have a new shelter?"

“If I ever doubted that the City and the GF Animal Foundation had an agenda, this article put it to rest. Talk about a white-wash job.”

“When a group or person stays silent, like the Foundation has, it means only ONE thing – guilt. "At least now we're down to two animal welfare groups in the city, she (Cerny) said.” That says it all about what the Foundation wants. Control.”

In the Trib article today, Grove claims, “The takeover was supposed to last three to six months, but at the three-month point, Police Chief Corky Grove said it may last longer.” What’s with THAT? At the meeting in June the City said it was a one month extension. Boy, did YOU ever call it right!!!”

“I want to know about the bid and how it was handled. You maintained back in June that Stebbins and LaMott, along with the City & Foundation, had a plan to take over the Humane Society for their own gain. Here’s the proof in black-and-white.”

"Eventually we hope to turn animal control over to another entity," Grove said last week.” There it is, as clear as day. The city got rid of the HSCC and now the ONLY entity left is, TA-DAH, The Animal Foundation. Talk about corrupt.”

“I hope the Spay people know what they are doing. I don’t think this is a smart move to join with the AF. It’s pretty easy to see that they’ll be painted with the same dirt if they’re not separate and careful.”

"I think that they are all in collusion together, and the truth will come to light."

“What is this? ‘Cerny said the foundation has not promised to build a no-kill shelter because that's not practical. She added that the foundation's goal is for the shelter to try to find homes for all adoptable animals. Some animals are too sick or don't have the right temperament to be placed in homes, police officials said.’ Not practical? Nothing that’s worth anything is easy. How not practical is a life? People are NOT idiots, contrary to this group’s opinion. We know a “No Kill” shelter means the really sick or vicious animal will NOT be able to continue. But, it DOES NOT MEAN that we will allow animals to die so that these people can clean runs or open a dog park.”

Cerny says that it’s not their “mission to run the shelter.” No, that’s right. It was their MISSION to raise funds for the HSCC. They stopped doing that to raise funds for their own publicity. What else will they stop doing? I bet they won’t stop conniving with the City, Stebbins and LaMott.

“Is Cerny nuts? Does she not know that everyone in this town talks and within a couple of days most of us had heard about James, the Foundation, the HSCC and the presentation that practically was a threat of future problems if the HSCC didn’t merge? Of course the Foundation doesn’t want to merge with the current HSCC board, it looks like they can’t be manipulated, threatened and we are all watching them now. And the Foundation better go look at other cities where part of the money collected for new shelters is used to help the old shelter. Otherwise, WHY EVEN RAISE MONEY? If the old shelter doesn’t need physical and financial help, why replace it? Ask yourself that about this situation. I have to agree with you, what IS the Foundation doing with our money if they’re not helping the animals NOW?"

"I like to be logical in reviewing the current situation in order to come to conclusions. Here is what I perceive;
The Foundation was begun to raise funds for the HSCC new animal shelter
The Foundation stopped doing that about 2 years after they began and started to raise funds for themselves.
They split off from the HSCC
Gloria LaMott made a public statement about the dog problem out in Ulm and said something about most of them should be put down which HSCC didn't authorize to be said.
Gloria LaMott was subsequently released/removed/or departed from the HSCC Board of Directors
Donna Stebbins and Gloria LaMott are friends.
You read a prepared statement in June, show how many people who work for the city have connections to the Animal Foundation. You surmise the possible intent is to give the management of the shelter to another group, either the Foundation or a group approved by them.
You state the bid was “shady” because of the way it was handled.
You read about LaMott’s statements in public, saying she was waiting for an animal job with the city. (I heard her, too, say things like this.)
You are removed from the meeting.
No one will touch your allegations that the bid was inappropriately managed and might have been illegal.
The City takes over the shelter, extends the bid for 30 days.
The Trib reports unsubstantiated allegations (I think that's the term they used in the paper) to support the reason for the City taking over the shelter.
City has money to improve the shelter, but refused to help the HSCC to improve the shelter.
The City acts as if it’s a permanent management situation of the shelter.
The Foundation AND HSCC have a meeting.
All online city records about this bid before June 19 disappear.
The Foundation now "merges" with the Spay group.
No mention of the HSCC, the bid or the fact that the original people, (the Foundation, City, and others) remain working behind the scenes in this and your initial questions about their interrelatedness and the possible impropriety of the bid is unanswered.
My conclusion:
Something is being hidden. There’s a lot of private deals being cut. (As an aside, I've personally heard individuals aligned with the Foundation make statements against you. If that isn't some kind of proof that you've made a dangerous statement of truth about what is happening and they're all trying to shut you up, I don't know what is. It shows just how far these people will go to keep safe their dirty deals.)"

"The Foundation tried to do it all without a paper trail, but too many people talked and nothing can be kept secret. It was all done with the intent to get rid of the HSCC. I think an investigation of the Foundation, the City and the Police is in order. "

"It all comes back to the bid, doesn't it? Was it legal or not? If not, then everything these groups have done should be undone. I'll bet a lot of us each have an original of something from the Foundation or city about all of this, so if paperwork has been 'cooked' they'll be in bigger trouble when it comes out."

"You never included the Tribune in all of this. Things don't get reported. You don't think someone in the Trib offices isn't in league with the Foundation and City? Think again."

"Butter wouldn't melt in the Foundation's mouth."

"The Foundation, the City and the Police all get something out of this. Money, power, control and more. What do you get? Nothing. So who should I believe? The groups that gain from all of this? Or the person who has nothing to gain, but is only revealing the truth? I've always been partial to the truth."

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Oh, Puh-leeze!

Get ready for more prevarication from the City, the mayor, the works.

It seems the current spin given to GF on the Animal Control Bid is that it wasn't illegal for the Chief of Police to see and compare the bids because of the KIND of bids they were.

Interesting. Then please explain the following which was an eyewitness account transcribed at the City Agenda Meeting on Wednesday 13, June 2007, a copy sent to a TV station and The Trib reporter, neither of which reported this discussion about the HSCC;

Mayor Stebbins: "The city may require the resignation of the whole Board."
She was told they could not do that, they were not allowed it is independent.

Mayor Stebbins: "I know a non-profit group, but they are not yet up to running the new shelter." "The Humane Society Board is 'half-ass. We have a tremendous problem."

Com. Diane Jovic-Kuntz: "But the Request for Proposals was not answered by 'Donna's people'."

Com Sandy: "I would hate to see the city get into another semi-private function."

Mayor Stebbins (with anger): "It is a city function."

Com. Jovic-Kuntz: "Why don't we appoint 5 new people?"
Told she could not, it was an independent non-profit.

The room was full of city people as well as two current candidates running for Commission seats.

There is also the following quote by the mayor, recounted by eyewitnesses during her tour of the HSCC shelter on June 18, 2007:

Mayor Stebbins: "I'll do everything in my power to make sure the shelter's not awarded the contract."

Do NOT tell me that there were no irregularities or illegalities happening here and that the bid was not co-opted or predetermined from the beginning.

Friday, October 5, 2007

44%, But It Sure Looks Good

44% of all animals that enter the Great Falls Animal Shelter are killed.

44% - that's almost HALF of all animals.

It means your dog or cat stands about a 50-50 chance of NOT making it out alive.

But the mayor and her commissioners took a tour and declared the shelter 'so much better' than when it was under the Humane Society of Cascade County.

Rwanda, Auschwitz...I'm certain there were individuals that thought THOSE places looked better too after getting rid of a goodly number of bodies.

Where IS the Animal Foundation of Great Falls in all of this? Try to remember, that they are selling the line..."Fostering a Caring Community" in their "Sheltering Skies" newsletter.

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil

Let's cut to the chase. Let's call a spade a spade. It's whispered. It's known. Here's what's said behind closed doors by you, the people: "There are a few people in town that think they run things." "They like it their way." "If you cross them, they'll make it hard for you." "They'll try to put you out of business." "They'll do whatever they can to get you." "You won't get any help to stop them because lots of people don't want to upset the apple cart." "The politics are dirty in this little town, they have their own group and if you upset their agenda, they'll take you down."

Whoa!!! If THAT'S the belief of the people of GF, then we REALLY need to do something. And it's not even said just in reference to me, it's used when discussing many areas of the city and business in this town.

A big issue, in this case wrapped around animals many care about, is the fact that the City, (and the impression is the administration is in cahoots with others in this town,) opened a bidding procedure that seems to be highly irregular or, possibly, illegal. That the City has numerous areas in which its dealings, and the people it deals WITH, are participating in shady practices at best, down-and-dirty at worst. That the City continues to run business as usual as if the publics' outcry and concerns over perceived criminality or irregular behavior is simply background chatter to be ignored.

Do we truly need to list all the areas of citizen concern? Oh, fine. Here are a few in question being followed and publicized by various concerned people; SME, HGS, GE, services no longer available to citizens, "loans" to select non-profit organizations (some get it, some get kicked out, go figure THAT one), solicitation of donations to the City for shelter without benefit of a 501C-3 (I believe there's a law against that,) an unbroken string of unanimous votes on diverse issues by the City Commissioners, unwillingness to speak to the public and address their questions, ad naseum.

The people of Great Falls are NOT STUPID. Neither are they lacking compassion. They don't like animals killed in order that the few people who consider themselves "players" in this town achieve their personal agendas.

While many may not want to touch the irregularities or possible illegalities of the Animal Control Bid and its outcome, it doesn't mean there aren't LOTS more that are sick to death of seeing what's happening and want to stop it.

Mayor Stebbins, according to the groundswell statements, is on her way out. We'll see come November.

Here is an interesting timeline on this issue only, interpret it as you will:
  • 2001/2002 - A small portion of the mission statement of the Humane Society Foundation of Cascade County (now known as the Animal Foundation of Great Falls) "To help the Humane Society of Cascade County raise funds for its programs." " To assist the Humane Society of Cascade County realize its dream of building a state-of-the-art animal shelter"
  • 2003 HSCC awarded a 5-year Animal Control contract
  • 2007 - Animal Control bid opened
  • Police Chief Corky Grove sits on Animal Control Bid Review Committee
  • GF Police Dept. submits Animal Control Bid
  • HSCC submits $186k bid, GF Police Dept submits $500+k bid
  • City Commission meeting - interrelationship between City Officials, Animal Foundation Board & members, Police Dept publically noted
  • HSCC removed from running the shelter
  • 30-day extension of Animal Control Bid - unanimous vote June 2007
  • Private power-point meeting between the Animal Foundation of GF board and the HSCC board, plus others, in which the Animal Foundation states "if the HSCC will merge with the Foundation, we will use our influence with the City, County and media to stop the negative coverage." (paraphrase, but VERY close to actual statement made in meeting as reported by individuals in attendance)
  • All documents prior to June 19th about the Animal Control bid are pulled from the city web site, they are unavailable upon verbal request
  • City continues to run shelter without public vote or continued extension of Animal Control Bid
  • New "director" of shelter assigned (note: a person asked yesterday if Jaimie Bennett, newly appointed, was in some manner related to Bennett Motors, which is/was a big supporter of SME/HGS and the mayor and if there is a personal connection to the mayor via close friendship, political support, etc. I don't know. Can anyone answer this?)
To my knowledge no Animal Control Bid has been awarded to date and the City continues to run the shelter on an EXPIRED 30-DAY bid extension.

Tribune asks candidates in paper, '
should the shelter be run by another entity?"
Just WHO might that be? Do the Commissioners have a group waiting? It's not the Humane Society. Is it the Animal Foundation of GF? A sub-group of the AFGF? WHO ARE THEY REFERRING TO WHEN THEY ASK THIS?

Don't muddy the waters - the Animal Control Bid has been shown to have gross irregularities, if not illegalities in its process. Because it's representative of the overall questionable behavior and dealings of the current administration, et al., and it has effected both city and county residents,
citizens have begun to publically call for an investigation into this matter.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dogs Killed To Keep Kennels Empty

The city and police are killing dogs as they enter the shelter in order to keep a specific number of kennels empty so that they can clean the facility.

It was pointed out in June that the Animal Control bid was, at least, suffering a conflict of interest what with the Police Chief reviewing the bids as well as submitting a police bid for the handling of AC. Not to mention he was sitting on the bid award committee. At worst case, what with seven city employees having ties to the Foundation via spouses, it was rigged in the true fashion of back door politics. (Please go here, and here, for a little additional background coverage. You'll have to excuse the fact that the actual city paperwork showing the interconnectedness of the groups has been pulled from online records. Convenient. I have been told that a few people made copies of these records before their disappearance and am trying to get copies to post.)

Where's the Foundation in all of this? It cries at the top of its lungs that the HSCC was awful, but the Foundation is NOT doing a thing about this. Smacks of insider practices when the Foundation will go after the Humane Society for the very things it's turning a blind eye to when it's the city. I have to ask myself, what kind of group is it that sits idly by knowing what is happening and does nothing? Why would a group, which touts itself the supporters of animals and collects great amounts of funds in its purported efforts to help them, has not stepped forward and actually made a difference when it's truly needed? I have to ask myself how I could have been so naive as to not see this in them when I was donating time and money to help build the new shelter.

Oh, yes, the regional Humane Society came and looked at the shelter. That's the same regional group that attends every Fur Ball and was emailed to support the shut-down of the HSCC by the mayor and Foundation individuals. (Though the city received a non-committal answer in response stating that the regional HSUSA position must be that of consulting.)

Nobody seems to be able to answer whether or not the Animal Control bid was awarded. If so, then the city should have at least $230k over and above the old operating budget of the Humane Society and it would be interesting to know what they're doing with it, other than kill animals to keep open kennels.

Some private citizens and vets are aware of the empty kennel requirement and are paying for boarding out-of-pocket in order to keep cats and dogs out of the shelter in order to re-home them, knowing they'll be killed if sent to the shelter.

If the bid hasn't been awarded, then why? On July 3rd, at the City Commission meeting, an extension of 30 days was granted. That's long past. What's the deal?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Pound

Over at Electric City Weblog an interesting post was put up a while ago by GeeGuy. You can find it here

It garnered a response with a question about the Pound which you can find here

So, what IS going on over at the Pound?

Let's talk cats first. The city's response when they receive a call about a cat rescue is "we can't do anything," OR, "leave it, it'll come down out of the tree by itself." The fire department says they don't have the equipment to rescue cats (though, I must say, at least they went out to try on ONE occasion I'm aware of.) The last two rescues I observed were of cats in trees for over 3 days. They were rescued by The Tree Man.

For many years now, The Tree Man has voluntarily taken out his equipment, day or night, rain or snow, and rescued any cat. He does this without charge. He was acknowledge for this civic service by the Humane Society of Cascade County (HSCC). He is still doing it.

Only ONE Animal Control Officer calls him for rescue help. This ACO can only do that when HE knows about the need. So, many cats are simply left stuck for days on end, sometimes in bad weather, up the tree. The city does NOT call him.

The city is also handing out baited traps to people in order to catch cats on the loose. Problem is, many cats are being destroyed at the pound as they are unable to hold them. The claim is that these cats are considered feral. Many may be, many may not be. And, yes, we do have a cat problem in GF, no getting around that.

Dogs. Three separate reports came to me that the individual currently physically running the pound took a blue heeler out of its kennel, off leash, and outside, where it was hit by a car. Luckily, there were no injuries. However, the dog was then taken to the person's home as a foster. Being a heeler, it nipped and or bit a person (report came from this individual). They had the dog put down. This happened, even though I'd given the name of a rescue group for the dog. What fool puts a Heeler in a house with kids? What fool thinks that the name "heeler" means nothing?

Great to know that the person running the pound doesn't know diddly about dogs.

There is a 72 hour hold when animals first come in. After that, no guarantees on how long an animal has until put down. Funny, other pounds have specific time limits that are posted. You can actually go in and ask to adopt an animal that's nearing its time. Here, it must depend on the direction of the wind, I guess.

When the city took over the building, the only two state certified euthanasia techs didn't get hired. This meant that the local vets were called upon to put down animals. It's my understanding they did this on a sort of round-robin call system. One of the vets (and I wish, so as not to cause problems for the many honorable, moral, and caring vets in the town, I could offer a name, but I won't,) chose not to use an anesthesia shot prior to the death shot. The outcome was ugly. This vet is no longer called to the pound.

I know that the HSCC was required to submit a monthly report on animals picked up, held, adopted and euthanized. To date no one has been able to get their hands on any such report from the pound. Are the police not filing? Is it because the pound doesn't want the number of kills out and about? Is it because tough questions asked seem to make paperwork disappear, regardless of the subject?

I do know that the regional Humane Society has done a walk-through and given suggestions as to improvements. Funny, some of the same problems that the Animal Foundation and city cited against the HSCC were brought up at this walk-through.

Any money a person donates to the current pound goes into the city coffers. It may never reach the pound.

Being as I work all over town, as do a couple of other people, we compared notes and found that the majority consensus by citizens in GF is, The Animal Foundation of Great Falls has been raising funds (which I and these others have contributed to) for about 5 years. Why, in the past 2 years, when the need by the animals was so great, according to them, under the HSCC and now the city, has the Foundation NOT scaled back on its building plans and actually gotten an improved building up? Statement made by one individual who has donated quite a bit - There is NO evidence that they are actually worried about the welfare of the animals as much as they seem to be worried about the design and impact of their building.

Question posed at a City Commission meeting in July: Will the current shelter be no-kill? Will the Animal Foundation's shelter be a no-kill?

No answer was given. No response made. Not at the meeting, not in a public forum such as the Trib. Not by the city officials or the Foundation board members.

This is all ugly. People feel duped. And rightfully so. Here is what I see as a private citizen who has donated money, damned be the politics - I donated for a new, much needed shelter for the animals of Great Falls. I have done this since the beginning. There is over 1 million dollars sitting in an account which could be helping animals in need. It's not. Build a smaller shelter and plan for future expansion. Forget the dog park. Those animals have homes. Deal with the overcrowding, the kills, the sub-standard facility that can't handle what is happening now. Underwrite some of the costs of fostering animals. HELP the animals. That's what I gave my money and donated services for auction at fund raisers for, not to sit idle in an account when the need is clear and present.

I know this is a VERY hot topic. However, I measure everyone's care, concern and truthfulness by their actions, not their lip service. I see individuals paying for the health care and on-going maintenance of animals they personally rescue and re-home. I see individuals personally donating time, effort, income and materials to rescue, foster, rehabilitate and re-home animals. I see individuals stepping in and taking the responsibility for animals which they know will be put down in order to give them another chance. I see individuals within the HSCC still finding foster homes for dogs and cats, personally paying for rehabilitation or obedience classes, even though they don't have a building any longer.

Meanwhile, I've heard NOTHING about the award of the Animal Control bid which was extended by the City Commissioners on July 3rd. Anyone know the status?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Busy, Busy

I'm posting this short and sweet to let you know that I'm more out-of-town working dogs, than in, at the moment. It's not that I don't have anything to post, it's merely that I'm traveling.

I apologize and want to let you all know that I'll be in and out until near the first of the month. I'll try to free-up time when I'm in an internet access location to post about IG-lF

Will get back to you all soon...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Unhappy Dogs

Just had a good talk with some old friends, C. and A., who are real dog handlers. They are compassionate, intelligent, caring, good breeders, great dog handlers and steely-eyed when it comes to what dogs need to be good dogs and maintain good breeding lines. They stand with a handful of other people, a couple of whom are here in GF and others around and out of the country, that I count as friends who really KNOW dogs. And they have good dogs to prove it. And I'm not speaking of mere obedience when I say good dogs.

We got to talking about why dogs have problems. Why so many are in shelters, euthanized, given away, abandoned, ignored, spoiled or taken to trainer after trainer.

The answer is simple - people. And in the dog's life people come in three important forms, breeders, owners and trainers.

The majority of individuals in all of the three forms do everything they do only from a human perspective, for self-gratification, for money and for their own egos. Some even go so far as to combine and manage to indulge in all of these. The dog is expected to do all the adapting.

Possibly when people really learn to KNOW dogs, how they think, what they need, when they need it, what they do when they get it or don't get it, how they communicate, what makes them mentally, socially, physically and psychologically secure and healthy - maybe then the majority of dogs won't be considered problems. Maybe then the majority of dogs won't HAVE problems. Maybe then people will see the majority dogs behaving as truly happy dogs.

My best to missed friends...Jill, Annie, Jack, Belle and Roz, to name a few