Sunday, September 18, 2011

HUMANE SOCIETY CRISIS? Financial woes prompt embezzlement, management shake-up rumors

COLUMBIA, 9/18/11  (Beat Byte) --  It's not a puppy mill but the rumor mill once again making news about the Central Missouri Humane Society (CMHS), Columbia-Boone County's oddly high-profile animal rescue non-profit. 
 
In an unceremonious surprise Tuesday, CMHS administrators reportedly called a staff meeting to explain that a former employee "stole a bunch of money and now they are broke," a credible source told the Columbia Heart Beat on condition of anonymity.  "Unless they find some major funding fast, they will be closing soon.  They wanted to prepare all their employees. Wow."

The agency's director, Alan Allert, D.V.M., has either stepped down or will be stepping down in the near future, the source also explained, emphasizing that Allert was not involved in any of the allegations. 
 
The rumors -- which have appeared on various online forums and listservs -- are baseless, Allert told the Columbia Heart Beat.  "No money was embezzled," he said, adding that he has no plans to step down -- only cut back his hours to save money.  "I've agreed to work half time.  I'm considering stepping into a consultant's role, but I don't know when yet." 
 
Instead, Allert said the bad economy has taken a toll.  "Our intakes are way up and our donations are way down," he explained.  The agency relies on both private donations and public tax dollars, serving as the area's quasi-official animal control shelter. 

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