Archive for Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Treatment of kitten puts shelter under focus

September 4, 2002


— The Humane Society of the High Plains is under investigation for its treatment of a sick kitten that eventually had to be euthanized.

The group's executive director, Julie Reiss, and four board members have resigned amid the conflict.

Hays veterinarian Jessica Braun filed a complaint with the Ellis County Sheriff's Department and the Kansas Animal Health Department after a client brought Braun a kitten on Aug. 19. The kitten had been adopted from the shelter near Hays.

Braun said the kitten was not ready for adoption when her client first saw it at the shelter. The client, Braun said, was told a few days later that she could come get the kitten if she wanted it.

The client took the kitten from the shelter to the veterinarian. The kitten was suffering from an upper respiratory infection that appeared to have developed into pneumonia, Braun said.

"I actually took pictures of the cat because I was so appalled," said Braun, who euthanized the kitten.

Reiss said the kitten had been treated by the animal shelter and that the shelter shouldn't have released the kitten. She added that long-standing personality and philosophical conflicts between herself and Braun played into the situation.

Braun said the kitten should have been treated more aggressively while at the shelter or it should have been euthanized sooner.

"It's supposed to be a humane society. That shouldn't happen," Braun said.

The shelter's board of directors discussed the complaint at a meeting Thursday. Reiss and three board members resigned Friday. A fourth board member stepped down Tuesday.

Mary Ann Thompson, the former board president, said medical care for the cash-strapped shelter's animals is costly, even with discounts from veterinarians.

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