Canyon County Commissioners concerned over "financial viability" of the West Valley Humane Society

Posted at 2:33 PM, Oct 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-12 00:16:59-04

Details emerged Tuesday of the Canyon County Commissioners’ discontent and concern over management of the West Valley Humane Society.

In a letter sent October 6th to the West Valley Humane Society Board of Directors, the Commissioners threatened to withhold financial support for the Humane Society unless the president and interim executive director were removed. Both officers resigned late last week.

The shelter announced the resignation of Board President Brenda Cameron and interim Executive Director Susan Woodward on Monday afternoon.

The resignations come after governmental entities, including the cities of Nampa and Caldwell and Canyon County, began considering a financial audit of the shelter after a number of late invoices.

Complaints have also led the cities and county to seek the appointment of a member to the shelter's board.

In the letter, Commissioners Steven Rule, Tom Dale, and Craig Hanson expressed “deep concern for the continued financial viability of the West Valley Humane Society.”

“The Humane Society is funded in substantial part by the taxpayers in Canyon County and the cities of Nampa and Caldwell and also operates as a public facility. It is imperative that, as stewards of public funds, we ensure that those funds are appropriately spent for the public good. After initial reports of instability at the Humane Society, we asked that an independent audit be conducted prior to the distribution of public dollars budgeted for the Humane Society by Canyon County in our 2017 fiscal year, we have yet to receive a response from the Humane Society to this request.”

The Commissioners went on to say they recently “received additional information indicating that the Humane Society is not properly safeguarding public funds. The County has now been asked to step in on behalf of the Humane Society for expenses the Humane Society has incurred and not paid. Some of the regular ongoing expenses have not been paid since June. This has significantly intensified our concern for the financial; state of the Humane Society.”

Citing a need for “immediate change in leadership,” the Commissioners told Board members, “ ... we ask that the Board of Directors remove the Humane Society interim director and the current president from the Board of Directors from any involvement with the operation of the Humane Society immediately. ... We intend to withhold financial support for the Humane Society until the Board of Directors take these steps to change direction ...”

The Commissioners declined our request for an interview. In an e-mail, County spokesman Joe Decker wrote, “We’re going to stand by the letter for now and not offer any additional comments. “

Shelter officials say they will work with the Idaho Humane Society to begin restructuring management.

(Associated Press contributed to this story)