By Jacky Tuinstra
The Ottawa Humane Society’s plans for a public consultation early this year have been delayed until spring.
“I think it is going to be March, late March, before we can implement that,” says Bruce Roney, the society’s executive director.
Both Roney and board president Pam Menchions blame the delay on deciding the format for the consultation.
The consultation was one of 488 recommendations of a Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) report commissioned by the Ottawa organization to evaluate its performance. The report cost $19,000.
Last October, the board set a target date of early this year for the consultation.
Roney maintains the consultation will be an important step for the society, as public input will help the society narrow its goals
“We are at the exploratory stages right now,” says Menchions. “We are discussing creative, inexpensive ways to get public input.”
Roney says some of the consultation options include soliciting opinion by telephone or fax.
Menchions says that an all-volunteer board makes it difficult to find the time to co-ordinate the consultation.
Ron Crowley, former member of the board of directors in1990 and lifelong Humane Society member, is not convinced that the consultation will be beneficial.
“Public consultation can be wonderful, but taking 488 resolutions to the public might be a bit much,” he says. “It is a very difficult task to get relevant information with that many resolutions.”
Crowley says while it is important to involve the community in the humane society, the focus of the consultation needs to be specific or the results won’t provide any direction and the public will lose interest.
“The public is interested in results,” he says, claiming other humane societies might provide more valuable input.
Roney says there have been other concerns besides the public consultation and that the society is also trying to tackle the other 487 recommendations.
“We purchased new software for tracking all of our animals. It is far superior to our previous software program,” he says, adding that the society recently purchased a portable to alleviate overcrowding.
“We have tried to be all things to all people,” says Roney.