New humane society director faces barrage of problems, complaints

Milford. Christine Cahill, on her fourth week in the job, reported that overcrowding is making the cats sick, euthanizations are out of hand, and the shelter is stuffed with outdated medications and other trash.

| 02 Dec 2021 | 09:09

Christine Cahill, the third person this year to head the Pike County Humane Society, told members about the problems she’s encountered so far.

Then, after barely four weeks on the job, she endured a barrage of complaints and accusations.

Cahill said the humane society failed its Nov. 17 kennel inspection because board member Janet Heim refused entry to the trailer she occupies on humane society property.

She said it’s a violation to block entry to any building on shelter property where animals reside, Cahill said. She said the humane society will “automatically fail its next inspection if Janet Heim refuses entry, and the shelter will lose stray/hold designation and possibly be shut down with a fine of up to $20K.”

(Members voted that evening to remove Heim from the board of directors, and she is expected to vacate the humane society property. See related story for more information.)

The ongoing problem of sick cats continues, Cahill said, because the cats simply do not have enough space. Each cat should have 18 square feet, she said, but the shelter’s 33 cats now have only 9.9 square feet each. She said veterinarians have told her that, in such conditions, cats continuously pass viruses back and forth. She said she began medicating all of the cats in an effort to prevent illness.

Cahill said she found an abundance of outdated medications, some dating back to 2014. She filled three dumpster bins with expired meds, contaminated food, unsalvageable kitty litter, and other trash, with much more to sort through, she said.

She said euthanizations are out of hand at the shelter, with way too many happening relative to the animal population. The Pike County Humane Society is designated a no-kill shelter with a 90 percent placement rate, which Cahill said isn’t happening.

The dog warden reported that 11 dogs are not up to date on rabies/distemper shots, while the condition of the 20 to 25 dogs Janet Heim keeps in her residence remain unknown.

On the plus side, Cahill said she is forging new relationships with veterinarians in Shohola and Milford, addressing computer problems, and working to connect the humane society’s Instagram page to its Facebook page. She purchased supplies requested by staffers, picked up donations, and had locks on the gates changed and cameras installed with new doors.

New volunteers are submitting applications. New employee and volunteer handbooks — along with time-off requests, cleaning/disinfecting protocols, intake and mediation processes and community service documentation — are coming next, Cahill said.

She thanked humane society workers Andrew and Matt for painting the kennel gates.

Then the attacks started. As in other humane society meetings held over the past year, people raised their voices as they ranged widely over a host of issues. But Cahill powered through, fielding all their questions.

In her initial report, Cahill said on her first day Tom Jensen “belligerently” asked her who she thought she was and yelled at her in front of the dog wardens. He left only after she called the police. Jensen denied any wrongdoing or creating any problems.

Cahill made it clear Jensen was not to return.