Euthanasia concerns to be raised at Sauk Co. shelter meeting - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Dozens attend SCHS board meeting to voice concerns on euthanasia rate

BARABOO (WKOW) -- A Sauk County Humane Society board meeting gets heated as dozens show up to voice their opinions and share ideas on how to bring down the shelter's euthanasia rate.

A 27 News report last month found SCHS put down 58 percent of animals that came into the shelter in 2012 gained a lot of attention in the Sauk County community. Public comment from seven people was added to the board's agenda Monday night and dozens more showed up to hear what they had to say.

The board wouldn't allow cameras in the meeting and sent everyone outside after a heated argument with the public who initially refused to leave. The board called each of the seven in one-by-one, alone. Only one newspaper reporter was allowed inside that meeting. Executive director Dana Madalon told 27 News the reporter was an invited guest.

Those who attended to learn more and hear arguments from both sides say they were disappointed to find out they'd have to wait outside the building.

"This is a charitable organization; it is publicly funded," says Michael McGreevy, an SCHS donor from North Freedom. "They are accountable to people like me and everybody else and we should be allowed access."

Denise Spangler, from Madison, was one of the seven who signed up to speak in front of the board. She says she had a bad experience with SCHS when an animal she was approved to adopt died during a surgery and wanted to voice her concerns about what she believes to be false information she was told about that death.

"You'd think this is a lot of fuss over a little rabbit, but when you put it all together with all the others and hear what everybody else has to say, it shows a disturbing puzzle about what's really going on here at SCHS and the changes needed," says Spangler.

The push to attend the board meeting was put forward by activists who formed the group Friends of Sauk County Animals, striving to help find ways to reduce euthanasia rates and adopt out more animals.

Marry Harris helped form that group and says she came to the meeting prepared to find a way to get the public more involved.

"We are armed with sheets of adoption ideas and fundraising ideas to help raise money," says Harris. "[A board member and I] had talked about having an open forum where the board members are invited but the public are the ones that have the stage so we can talk, we can tell them our feelings without the control like they had here."

27 News was the only media outlet the board refused to talk with after the meeting, with no reason given. Earlier in the day, Madalon indicated by phone she was upset about the 27 News report last month.

In the past, she said the shelter just doesn't have enough room for all the animals that come in and the public needs to step up to help out by donating money and getting pets spayed and neutered.




SAUK COUNTY (WKOW) -- The policies of an embattled animal shelter in Sauk County will get another look Monday night.

Dozens of people concerned about Sauk County Humane Society's euthanasia rate are expected to pack into a regular board meeting at the shelter.

Last year, the humane society's kill rate topped 50 percent. Other area shelters had rates between five and 15 percent.

Board members are expected to hear concerns about the adoption process, current shelter leadership and the Sauk County Humane Society's overall reputation.

Shelter President Debra Madalon defends its operations, saying staff members care deeply about animals and do all they can to save them. 

"We, of course, try to avoid that as much as possible," Madalon says. "It depends on if we have room, it also depends on how severe the injuries are or the illness."
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