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A Failure of Leadership - MADACC Operations Committee Meeting January 2013

We know how to end the killing. It is time for the board and management of MADACC to step up and be leaders or step down and get out of the way.

Yesterday was the monthly Operations Committee meeting at Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC). The MADACC board of directors is made up of one member from each of the nineteen municipalities of Milwaukee County that MADACC serves. The Operations Committee is comprised of six of these board members. They meet on the third Tuesday of every month at 1 p.m . at MADACC. These meetings are open to the public and I encourage you to attend if you are concerned about the welfare of Milwaukee County's animals.

 I have posted the December statistics  and transfer numbers above. As suspected, transfers were down substantially in December 2012 as compared to December 2011. The number of animals killed in December was up from the same period last year. In total MADACC killed 5357 animals in 2012, including 6 birds, 3514 cats, 1783 dogs and 54 other animals.

Over thirty people attended yesterday's meeting and several spoke about their concerns. Thank you to the following people for your heartfelt and compelling testimonies:

Marissa Kraft, MADACC supporter, Milwaukee Animal Alliance

Cindi Ashbeck, Milwaukee Animal Welfare Examiner

Susan Taney, Lost Dogs of Wisconsin

Tammy Rizer, Milwaukee Animal Alliance

Clodagh Mc Guiness, MADACC volunteer

Nancy Annaromao, Milwaukee Animal Alliance, Remember Me Ranch

Shannon Cummings, Milwaukee Animal Alliance

The committee did not respond to this month's or last month's concerns, or the month before's concerns. The concerns are stacking up with no end in sight. When asked at the end of the meeting when some answers might be expected; Ron Hayward, president of the board, guaranteed that by next month's meeting the issues would be addressed. But Paul Ziehler of West Allis immediately interjected and said that it might be 30 to 60 days. When I asked how the issues would be addressed: would it be email, or newsletter or on the website? Paul said he didn't have an answer. Hmm... They can't even answer when or how they will have an answer. It's so sad, it's almost funny.

Ron Hayward, Village President of West Allis,  promised me at the board meeting on November 16th that he would get his email fixed (apparently it was broken?) and start responding to emails. He has not responded to a single email that I have sent since. I'm not sure how a Village President can function with a broken email account. But it is a very convenient way to put your head in the sand and ignore concerns.

So another month goes by with almost another 300 animals per month being killed. Not euthanized. Killed.

Euthanasia is by definition: the merciful taking of life of a hopelessly ill pet, the kind of act a loving pet owner shows when a pet's suffering can't be helped anymore.  Population control killing is NOT EUTHANASIA, as there is nothing merciful about it.  It's a public policy failure and an illustration that the community's sheltering organizations have not yet adopted the programs and policies that make it unnecessary.

"Since we know that communities can save all their healthy and treatable pets, and we know how, there really is not excuse not to - although poorly managed public and private shelters seem to have no shortage of such excuses."  - Christie Keith

So let's lose the sugar coating, folks. It is killing, it is not euthanasia. Call it what it is. And have the courage to say it and own up to it.

The volunteer coordinator, Jessica Huber, announced that she was going to embark on a humane education program at a local school. A noble cause for a well-organized and funded shelter with a strong infrastructure. But a waste of time and money for a municipal shelter like MADACC that needs a volunteer coordinator that is focused on saving the lives of shelter animals RIGHT NOW, not with elementary school children where the effects won't be seen for years.

Earlier this month, Kelly Herbold of the Milwaukee Animal Alliance tried to set up a meeting with a few people from her group and John MacDowell to talk about how MAA can help be part of the solution.

Here is the email string:

Kelly Herbold: 

We would like to start some ongoing conversations about maximizing MADACC's potential, and how Milwaukee Animal Alliance can contribute to that. I understand you may be concerned with who 'we' is.. 


J.L. McDowell: 

Ms. Herbold, 

You misunderstood. I have to have some idea of the specifics of what you would like to discuss as I must set aside a given amount of time. The second part of my statement about the “we” referred to number of individuals not who they are. Show up with you entire posse and it will likely be a very, very short meeting.

Last, show up prepared to speak plain English. Patience, especially with “in” phrases like “maximizing potential” is not one of my strong suits.

I am normally here till around 730 to 830 PM.  My day normally starts to slow a bit by around 6 or 630 PM so  I would suggest that you make plans to show up around that time. Send me several dates on or after the 11th. and I will get back to you with one of those. 

Kelly Herbold:  It will be me, Amanda Wenzel and Tony DeStafanis. Does the 25th at  6pm work? 

J.L. McDowell: The 25th. at 6 is fine. However,  come alone I will not meet with the other two. 

Not only unprofessional, but downright creepy. And this folks, is what your tax dollars is funding. A failure of leadership by the management and board of directors of MADACC to address and correct the issues brought forth by concerned citizens. Citizens who care enough about their community's animals to take time off in the middle of a work day to attend a meeting for a cause they are passionate about. Citizens who want to be part of the solution.

I want to end with one of my favorite sayings:

Killing is not a "necessary evil".  It is just plain evil. 

We know how to end the killing. It is time for the board and management of MADACC to step up and be leaders  or step down and get out of the way.

If you are concerned about the failure of leadership at MADACC that has resulted in the deaths of over 5000 animals in 2012 I urge you to attend the monthly meetings and to write or call the following Operations Committee members and your elected officials. Thank you.

Ron Hayward, West Milwaukee, President: ronald.hayward@westmilwaukee.org

Susan Robertson, Fox Point, Vice President (leaving soon for another position)

Don Schaewe, Milwaukee: dschae@milwaukee.gov

Paul Ziehler, West Allis: pziehler@ci.west-allis.wi.us

Michael Weber, Hales Corner: mweber@halescorners.org

Eric Pearson, Milwaukee: epears@milwaukee.gov

Derik Summerfield, Wauwatosa (absent): dsummerfield@wauwatosa.net

Also attending the operating committee meeting were the following MADACC staff members:

John McDowell - Interim Executive Director: jlmac2@madacc.com

Dr. Gutting - Veterinarian

Laura Proeber - Office Manager

Jessica Huber - Volunteer Coordinator

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

James January 25, 2013 at 02:09 AM
Why bother meeting with McDowell? This man would rather kill an animal than give the animal to someone he doesn't like. This guy is a complete moron and should have been fired when he worked for the Wisconsin Humane Society during their high kill years.
WPN1488 January 25, 2013 at 02:22 AM
Pet owners are an interesting breed, They will watch that ASPCA: Sarah McLachlan ad and cry like a baby, but when an ad comes on asking to donate to the Children Fund these animal lovers switch the channel to the Oxygen Network. The radical pet owners I come across love animals more than themselves and other humans.

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