WJHL.com - Conflict erupts at Hawkins County Humane Society meeting

Conflict erupts at Hawkins County Humane Society meeting

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HAWKINS COUNTY, TN (WJHL) - The Hawkins County Humane Society is under fire from some members after allegations of animal abuse and failure to follow state and federal guidelines for non-profits.

The Humane Society held its annual election meeting this morning, while many people – claiming to be members – stood outside in the cold, waiting to have their voices heard. The people were upset that the meeting was moved from Holston electric, where it’s been held in the past, to the Humane Society’s small office on Lee Highway in Rogersville.

President Eddie McNally said the law requires him to hold the meeting at the shelter.

“Folks, again, you’re going to have to leave. I’m sorry, please, just vacate and let us do our business and we’ll talk to everybody that wants to talk after we’re done, I promise,” McNally told the people crowding inside the office.

“We’re locked out,” Kathy Houseright is of more than a dozen people claiming to be members of the Hawkins County Humane Society who gathered at the non-profit’s annual election meeting to ask the president to step down. Except they weren’t allowed inside.

“We feel like we’ve been shunned, like we’ve been pushed aside and the concerns we have don’t matter. We’re here for justice for the animals,” Houseright told News Channel 11.

Bonnie Shaw was a member of the Humane Society’s board until Thursday’s meeting, and says she once witnessed two dogs being put down, less than an hour after arriving at the shelter, and without being sedated.

“Those dogs did not have a good death, and they should not have died that way, that was the turning point for me,” Shaw said. When asked about that specific allegation, McNally said the incident was a private personnel matter and that he wouldn’t comment about it.

As for why people were not allowed inside, McNally said according to the Fire Marshal, the building could only safely house 11 people for the meeting, and the others that wanted to come inside were not eligible to vote anyway.

 Board member Dina Alley thought the meeting should have been more transparent, “It’s just not right, if the people want to know what’s going on, why you won’t allow the camera in.”

One of the biggest problems with the conflict is the confusion about who exactly is a member of the humane society.

McNally claims certain people were scammed and paid membership dues to the wrong person.

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