Setting the Record Straight: Our Commitment to Transparency and Truth

Setting the Record Straight: Our Commitment to Transparency and Truth

We find ourselves at a pivotal moment in the life of our organization, compelled to address
recent online allegations and misleading questions and comments from a former employee and
member of the community who runs her own animal rescue organization. It is deeply troubling to
witness the spread of misleading information and outright lies that have led to doubt and
suspicion over the very core of our organization’s mission. We feel it is our moral and ethical
responsibility to address each of these concerns directly and set the record straight. We want to
reassure our supporters and the community that our commitment to the well-being of our furry
friends remains unwavering.

The Fond du Lac Humane Society is a private, non-profit organization. While a portion of our
funding comes from the City of Fond du Lac, we are not owned or managed by the city. We
instead contract with the city to provide humane officer services for stray intake of dogs and
cats. Our new facility was fully funded through private donations, not taxpayer dollars.

The previous contract, originally set for a duration of three years, was scheduled to expire at the
end of 2022. Our transition in leadership to a new shelter manager during 2022 presented a
unique opportunity for a comprehensive evaluation of all agreements, in order to ensure safety,
fairness, and equity for all parties involved.

In the spirit of cooperation, we proactively initiated discussions with the city to renegotiate the
contract for 2023. Throughout the end of 2022 and early 2023, we held numerous meetings with
the city in a sincere effort to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. During these negotiations,
we made several offers aimed at strengthening our commitment to animal welfare. They
included after-hours keyless access for the City of Fond du Lac Police department to bring in
cats and dogs, offered to provide emergency on-call assistance after-hours, a bite quarantine
program (in accordance with state statute 95.21, the requirement that the owner deliver the
animal to our facility and cover the associated fees), a feral cat program, and animal
impoundment for cause. The city ultimately chose to decline our offer to include these items in
the contract. The contract process was prolonged as the city delayed the finalization of the new
contract. In response to these delays, we advised the city that, if an agreement was not reached
by February 15th, we would be unable to perform humane officer duties until a new agreement
was officially signed. Eventually, after months of negotiation, the city agreed to a new one-year
contract commencing in March 2023 through December 31st, 2023.

Unbeknownst to us, in early 2023 the City of Fond du Lac chose to embark on contract
negotiations with three other animal rescue organizations within the city to provide comparable
services. These negotiations culminated in the ratification of agreements in April 2023.

It is essential to understand that the contract between the City of Fond du Lac and the Fond du
Lac Humane Society explicitly outlines our scope of our work within the city. Our contract did not
include after hours emergency on-call assistance, animal impoundment for cause, bite
quarantines, intake of unwanted animals, or feral cat intake. Again, the Fond du Lac Humane
Society extended offers to include all of these services in our 2023 contract, regrettably, the city
chose to decline our offer.

In stark contrast, the agreements established between the city and the other three rescue
organizations did not impose the same restrictions. This discrepancy has placed the Fond du
Lac Humane Society in a challenging position, with our ability to act often constrained by the
terms of our agreement. This has led to confusion in the community, and a deep
misunderstanding by the other rescue organizations.

As we approach the end of 2023, we find ourselves once again engaged in ongoing efforts to
renegotiate our contract with the City of Fond du Lac. We have a sincere dedication to finding a
mutually agreeable agreement, but regrettably, we have yet to reach that point.

In our earnest pursuit of fairness and equality, we proposed an offer to the City of Fond du Lac
with the best interests of all organizations and taxpayers in mind. Understanding that we now
share services with the other rescues, our proposal was centered on a commitment to providing
the same level of services, replacing the existing blanket fixed contract amount with a more
tailored and fair approach. Our current offer set the reimbursement at $185 per animal.
These figures are based on 2023 and previous years’ data, indicating an annual cost that
closely mirrored our prior agreements on a per animal basis.

Unfortunately, the city has opted to decline our latest proposal and instead has offered a flat rate
of $50 per dog, $30 per cat, and $15 per kitten or puppy under six months of age. These figures
are far less than the city is currently paying us or the other rescues for services. Sadly, the Fond
du Lac Humane Society was not consulted in the formulation of these figures. It is with a heavy
heart that we must acknowledge that this offer, as it stands, is not financially viable for our
organization. It is essential to understand that the average cost incurred by the Fond du Lac
Humane Society in 2022 per animal was greater than $650, a substantial sum that does not
account for animals with severe illnesses or medical conditions. As we strive to continue
delivering our vital services, it is imperative to acknowledge the realities of rising inflation,
increased wages, and the overall growth in operational expenses. These factors are central to
the financial challenges we face in fulfilling our mission and providing the highest standard of
care for the animals entrusted to us. We urge everyone in the community to contact your city
council representative and ask them to reconsider this proposed agreement. According to the
2024 draft city budget, and the 2023 animal numbers reported to the City of Fond du Lac
through September by the Fond du Lac Humane Society and the three rescues, the funding is

But what about the questions? Let’s address them.

Why do you block people from commenting on your facebook page? (sic)

Unfortunately, there have been instances of individuals making inappropriate, hateful, and
despicable comments on our posts, some even aimed at children in our community just trying to
help our animals. This is unacceptable. Our primary mission is the well-being and care of the
animals under our protection. Consequently, dedicating our staff’s valuable time to monitor and
manage social media comments is not feasible. In the best interest of our organization and to
maintain a positive and respectful online environment, we have made the difficult decision to
discontinue comments on the majority of our posts. This measure has been taken to prevent
further instances of harassment and inappropriate behavior.

Did you know a Police Officer took a FdL stray animal home? (sic)

This should never happen, and didn’t have to. The Fond du Lac Police Department has been
offered 24/7 access to our facility to drop off any stray animals found. We cannot speak to why
an officer would choose to take this animal home, but we can assure you that he or she did not
have to.

Why now are 3 FdL rescues on call with the police 24hrs a day 7 days a week? (sic)

This is a result of the choices the city made, and the other rescues agreed to. To be clear, the
Fond du Lac Police Department can stop by with animals anytime, as we have provided 24/7
access to our facility to drop off any dog or cat as needed. The police department has chosen
not to use this option, and instead chooses to contact the rescues directly. Again, this is not our
decision or choice. The city declined our offer to include emergency on-call availability in our
agreement. We would love for the police to utilize our available resources.

Why, with a multimillion dollar building in the South/West corner, has the Fond du Lac
Humane Society dropped nearly all of their services to the city of FdL? (sic)

This is a misleading and disingenuous question. The Fond du Lac Humane Society has not
dropped services to the city of Fond du Lac, outside of what the city chose to remove from our
2023 agreement, which again was not our decision. So far this year, the Fond du Lac Humane
Society has taken in the majority of the animals in the city (about 60%), with the remaining
animals taken to the other contracted rescues. It must be noted that when a citizen calls the
police department/dispatch regarding a stray, it is the officer’s decision who to contact or what
action to take. Again, we provide the city 24/7 access to drop off any strays as needed, however
they have made the decision to contact one of the other contracted rescue organizations first.
This isn’t our decision, and we would love for them to work with us and utilize the resources we

Why are 3 rescues needing to be contracted by the city for animal control services with a
multimillion dollar building sitting in the South/West corner of the city? (sic)

Again, the city chose to reach beyond the contract with the Fond du Lac Humane Society and
engage other rescue organizations to assist. The only time the Fond du Lac Humane Society
would turn away a stray animal, is if we are at full capacity. If our services are needed, we will
be there as we always have as long as we have an agreement with the city and are legally
allowed to do so.

Why are 3 rescues in FdL needed to be contracted with the city to fill those gaps? (sic)

In the beginning of 2023, the city still hadn’t ratified a new agreement and we legally
couldn’t continue to operate without one (the contract is what allows us to perform humane
officer services within the city). We gave the city a deadline, which they did not meet even after
requesting multiple extensions that we honored. At some point while finalizing the agreement
with us, the city chose to reach out and form separate agreements with the other rescues in

Why now are 3 FdL rescues seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in community
financial support to build a shelter? Wasn’t millions already donated for that? (sic)

We fully support the other rescue organizations in town making improvements to provide the
best possible care to their animals, and we want to see them succeed. The reality is the Fond
du Lac Humane Society is still here, and still available. Again, the city chose to go around the
Fond du Lac Humane Society to other rescues and place us all in this position; this wasn’t done
at our request or with our knowledge.

Why now are the 3 FdL rescues receiving near daily phone calls in regards to FdL stray
and surrender pets, “I called the HS, and they said to call you.” (sic)

This is a false narrative as it is confusing two different categories, stray and surrendered pets.
Our policy is clear; we prioritize stray animals over surrendered pets so we can maintain the
space and capacity needed to meet the agreement with the City. Under very limited
circumstances we will take in surrendered pets, however there are clear guidelines, fees, and
policies in place to protect the animals, the shelter and its employees. When individuals are not
willing to follow the steps, we do offer for them to reach out to other local rescues who may not
have the same policies or procedures in place.

We are currently home to more than 165 animals (44 dogs and 123 cats) and an amazing staff
of 22 hard working employees who want only the best for our animals. Our dedication to this
community, the taxpayers, and our valued donors runs deep. It is with immense gratitude that
we acknowledge the significant contributions made from the public, including our largest single
donor who made our new facility possible, who continues to serve on our board due to their
unwavering belief in our organization’s mission and vision.

While we are not immune to scrutiny, we have been tirelessly working to enhance our policies
and procedures, all with the aim of better serving our community. Our commitment to
improvement remains steadfast, but we aspire to move beyond the realm of responding to
allegations and false narratives. These distractions divert valuable time and resources away
from our primary goal of caring for the animals who depend on us.

We firmly believe that this is a collective effort, and our unity is crucial in securing the necessary
funding from the city to continue delivering these indispensable services. We extend an open
invitation to the public to visit our facility, meet our dedicated staff, and witness firsthand the
extraordinary effort we pour into fulfilling our mission. Together, we can make a positive impact
on the well-being of our community and its animals.