There have been a number of letters, both in The Pantagraph and to the Humane Society of Central Illinois, denouncing Humane Society's part in the legal battle over the custody of the dog “Jake” between his deceased owner's parents and his girlfriend. As an HSCI board member, I wanted to clear the air regarding some of the issues.
First of all, the HSCI was asked to be part of the case by the girlfriend; we did not initiate that involvement. That was why the adoption contract was reviewed and Jake was housed in the Adoption Center during the legal proceedings. Our adoption contract does indeed require that an animal be returned to our facility should the adopter no longer be able to care for the animal - which obviously was the case in this instance since the adopter had died - but in reality, this rarely happens. However, it was invoked in this instance because of the claim by the deceased's estate.
Secondly, some readers have voiced their concern that the HSCI was wasting money - i.e., their donations to HSCI - on this issue, jeopardizing the care of other animals in our facility. This definitely was not the case, as our lawyer has never, and has stated he will never, charge for his services when representing the HSCI.
Finally, at least one reader was upset that his tax dollars were being wasted to pay for the case. Also not true, as the HSCI is a 501(c)(3) corporation and does not accept or qualify for tax money from local, state or federal agencies. Our entire budget is made up from membership, donations, fund-raisers, memorials and grants. We are forever grateful to the people who support our cause of caring for abandoned, neglected and abused animals and placing them in loving homes.
Kim E. Miller