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Five members resign from Quinte Humane Society board

By Tyler Penney [1]

BELLEVILLE – The Quinte Humane Society [2] has lost five members from its board of directors [3].

The announcement of the resignations came on Friday. Shortly afterwards two new members were appointed to the board, according to Frank Rockett, the society’s executive director.

“We already had a plan in place to strengthen our board and bring on new leadership,” said Rockett.

“This has just sped up the process a little bit and we’re going to continue to follow that plan.”

Even though the board lost five members at one time, Rockett said it won’t affect operations.

The press release Friday announcing the new members does not mention a recent issue where several board members wanted to close the shelter after a few cats became ill. The illness was caused by a bacterium called streptococcal equi subspecies zooepidemicus, strep zoo for short. It can cause respiratory disease in cats that is often be fatal. Two of the cats at the local shelter died, while three others who were infected survived.

Asked about that situation by QNet News, Rockett said: “I’m not sure how long it would’ve been an issue, but basically I had already received some information from various veterinarians, at both the local and provincial level, that indicated it wasn’t necessary” to close the shelter. “My preference is always to follow the advice of trained professionals in that area. A doctor in veterinary medicine is a substantial degree and I give quite a lot of weight to recommendations by those types of individuals.”

The shelter is unable to pinpoint where exactly the disease came from, since it brings in such a large number of animals, Rockett said.

“We don’t know what exactly brought it in. Because we receive so many different animals from so many different backgrounds, including a number that are stray, it’s really difficult to pinpoint sources of various elements.

“The thing is, just given the volume of animals we deal with on a daily basis, with unknown backgrounds, these sorts of things do occur in shelters on a regular basis.”

The society believes the problem has been resolved, he said.

“We have done a couple of tests on cats after that event and we now have no positive results anymore.”

Rockett said couldn’t comment on why the board members had left because he hadn’t heard anything from them.

“There were some statements to the media, and to be honest I’ve never seen those statements personally,” he said.

The board will continue to move forward after resolving these issues, he added.

“We wish them well in their future endeavours,” Rockett said, speaking about the former board members. “They’ve contributed to the organization through the time they were here and now we’re looking to move forward to new individuals.”