End Animal Abuse at Humane Society

Dogs in Cage

Target: Board of Directors at Harbor Humane Society, Michigan

Goal: Immediately implement drastic changes in operations at Harbor Humane Society and end the history of abuse that has taken place

A recent petition started on Change.org by a former volunteer at Michigan’s Harbor Humane Society goes into disturbing detail regarding the many abuses inflicted against animals that she observed during her time at the shelter. The petition describes extreme overcrowding, lack of proper care and failures in medical administration, among other abuses that occurred at Harbor Humane Society from the period between October and December 2012. In an official response to the petition, the Board of Directors at Harbor Humane Society claimed ignorance to the horrific maltreatment that was taking place at the shelter, stating that because the board members “do not work in the shelter,” they were unaware of these occurrences. However, they did concede that Swett’s “suggestion to close the doors of Harbor Humane Society has merit.”

In her petition, Swett alleges that she observed a host of animal abuse during her short time working at Harbor Humane Society. Among these disturbing claims are details of such overcrowding, that animals were stored in a garage area in the back that lacked proper ventilation and lighting, inadequate cages that were far too small for the dogs housed within them, insufficient feeding and watering of shelter animals and workers euthanizing animals without proper justification. Swett took photos of “rusty cabinets, feces in kennels and an empty room with a dog named Celia,” that was allegedly kept in “solitary confinement” for nearly an entire year. In a statement to local news, Swett observed that, “the public just has no idea that this stuff is going on.”

In response to the Swett’s petition, the Harbor Humane Society’s Board of Directors treasurer Teresa Huxhold stated that the shelter is “falling apart,” and in “desperate need of funding.” According to the shelter’s official website, Harbor Humane Society relies on volunteers and volunteer funding, and recently, the shelter has simply not received enough of either. They admit that they are “in great need” of funding, and encourage the public to help out by adopting from the immense number of animals the shelter receives each month. However, some abuses Swett brought to light cannot be explained away, such as the shelter’s practice of euthanizing animals while other animals in the room watched. On this allegation, Huxhold merely stated that she did not feel the practice to be “proper.”

Tell the Board of Directors at Harbor Humane Society that these abuses will not be tolerated. Regardless of a lack of funding, some of these horrific practices are simply inexcusable.


Dear Harbor Humane Society Board of Directors,

A recent petition written by a former worker at Harbor Humane Society, Jessica Swett, has garnered much public attention in its allegations of animal abuse. Swett outlined disturbing practices that she observed in her three months at the shelter, including improper feeding and watering of animals, lack of proper medicinal care, animals euthanized for seemingly no reason at all, and extreme overcrowding resulting in improper care for shelter animals.

While many of these abuses can be seen as the result of a very real lack of funding, or simply a matter of too many animals and not enough people adopting them, much of the maltreatment Swett describes can not be justified, including docile, highly-adoptable cats and dogs being put down.

The innocent animals that are dropped off at Harbor Humane Society deserve quality care and every possible opportunity for adoption. Shelter animals are already typically scared and confused, and therefore deserve even greater love and care.

I ask that you immediately end the abuses taking place at Harbor Humane Society, and make whatever changes to the shelter staff as well as the Board of Directors that are necessary to ensure that such maltreatment does not occur in the future. Furthermore, increased efforts to raise funds and awareness regarding adoption should be implemented immediately. Please end the horrific abuse against these innocent animals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Chris Metcalf via Flickr

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