The Age, Mark Russell; October 31, 2010
TWO directors from the Cat Protection Society of Victoria have resigned over the dumping of a fellow board member who questioned why the society was killing cats in record numbers.
The resignations of Sue Fedrizzi and Dianne Watts, who support claims the society’s kill rate is too high, have embarrassed the animal welfare group, but the organisation denies being in turmoil.
Ms Fedrizzi and Ms Watts stepped down after the society voted to oust director Jasmine Alexandra, who had called for more to be done to reduce the group’s kill rate for cats and kittens, which rose from 63 per cent in 2008 to more than 90 per cent last year.
Ms Fedrizzi said board members should not be stopped from asking pertinent questions.
”I believe that members should in fact be encouraged to do this without fear of backlash or repercussion from within the group,” she said. Ms Fedrizzi said the society had to be more transparent when it came to the reporting of statistics and information.
Ms Alexandra claimed the society had lost its way. ”How can an organisation which claims to care about cats and has millions of dollars in the bank let their adoption rate fall every year?” Ms Alexandra said. ”I worked as hard as I could to increase the number of cats being adopted out and not killed, which resulted in me being thrown off the board.”
Ms Alexandra, dumped after a special general meeting on October 18, said the society had become complacent. ”It’s important the general public understands what’s going on,” she said. ”These cats are being killed because of complacency, a lack of effort. I think homes could be found for these cats, certainly more cats than are currently being adopted out.
”The problem is it makes no difference to the society’s interests if cats are rehomed or not.
”They are more interested in pushing for compulsory desexing laws.”
The society’s financial reports showed that in 2008 its Greensborough shelter adopted out more than 30 per cent or 4782 of the 15,874 cats it received, and euthanased 63 per cent (9943 cats).
In 2009 the adoption rate dropped to just over 8 per cent – 1011 of the 12,491 cats and kittens it received that year were adopted out – while 11,348 cats and kittens, more than 90 per cent, were killed. The rest were reclaimed.
Society chief executive Carole Webb refused to comment but her lawyer Jonathan Teh said Ms Alexandra was offered ”procedural fairness”. Mr Teh said Ms Alexandra was invited to speak against the motion to remove her as a director but chose not to attend the meeting. The motion was passed 69-11.
Ms Alexandra was dumped after sending an email to the society’s marketing subcommittee on July 6 discussing ways to improve the number of cats being adopted out.
The society’s marketing and communications consultant Allan Craig believed the email defamed him by questioning the way he was doing his job. The society demanded Ms Alexandra apologise but she refused after seeking legal advice.
Society president Delphine McCormack claimed Ms Alexandra’s ”baseless and malicious allegations” had exposed the organisation to a possible defamation claim.