Who Are These Texas Animal Welfare Groups Protecting, and Why?

Categories: Spaced City

Photo by fossilmike
Support for HHS at 2011's gay pride parade.

We wonder, too. But see, it's hard for us to get any information from the Houston Humane Society. That's because we wrote about a lawsuit -- later dropped -- filed by a former employee, who accused Perez of sexual harassment, among other things. From that point on, any time we wanted to write about HHS -- even to promote adoption -- we were directed to the non-profit's attorney. Because that's how legitimate animal rescues work: they muzzle up and tell you to talk to their lawyer.

However, we were pleasantly surprised to at least get a non-statement about this hubub from Ferguson herself: "The issue has been greatly distorted, blown totally out of proportion and has been resolved by the Executive Director of HHS and the President of THLN."

While Network Executive Director Rick Bousquet told volunteers in an email that "apologies were exchanged for any inappropriate comments or actions," Sara told us she never received an apology. Maybe she's lying. Either that, or Bousquet is.

"I will be the first to say the incident on Sunday was very unfortunate and I wish I had been there myself, but without minimizing the situation or doubting our volunteers, this is a prime example of taking the high road and moving forward in the best interest of what we are all working for, and [that's] the animals of Texas," Bousquet wrote.

Officially, to us, Bouquet wrote, "...I really don't see much of a write up here as we did have a minor incident on Sunday, but it was dealt with and cleared up with good communications between THLN and the HHS."

We guess we'll just have to take Bousquet's word for it, because neither he nor Network President Cile Holloway would share their understanding of what happened, and how exactly it was "cleared up."

In fact, it's clear as mud. There are so many points of view, it's like Rashomon up in here. The chapter president describes Perez's behavior as so bad that she doesn't want to work with HHS ever again. But HHS' Ferguson states the incident was blown out of proportion. Sara says Perez swore at her and got in her face. Bousquet says it was a "minor incident." To us, this doesn't sound like anything was resolved.

In our experience, one reason animal welfare non-profits can get a pass on a bad egg is because it's "all about the animals." But the thing is, in Houston, and throughout Texas, there are so many people like Sara who somehow manage to work hard, help animals, and not be jerks. It's a blessing. And it means non-profits don't have to tolerate despicable behavior.

It is about animals. But until stray and surrendered animals can find homes on their own, non-profits need the help of good, caring people. And those people should be shown how much they're valued, not how they're expendable. Not for the placation of a bully and his keeper. Not for anything.

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I used to work there. I'm not remotely surprised by this. I wonder what it will take, how many law suits, how many incidents like this before those two are removed from power at HHS. How many volunteers and employees will go through this before someone steps in and helps? It's not like this is the first time this has happened. It's not even the second time.

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