BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — The head of a Tri-Cities animal shelter was ousted from the organization that she founded about 20 years ago. Now, she and her supporters are demanding answers.
Regina Isenberg, a World War II concentration camp survivor and founder of The Bridge Home No Kill Animal Rescue, was met with locked gates, no trespassing signs, and sheriff’s deputies when she arrived at the animal shelter on Monday, where a board meeting was set to take place.
“It’s unfair to the animals all along and the people who volunteer,” Isenberg told News Channel 11.
“All of a sudden without her being present for a meeting, the board has voted to remove her as president,” said Isenberg’s attorney, Charles London. “She didn’t receive any notice that there was going to be a vote to remove her and she wasn’t informed of why she was to be removed.”
Neither Isenberg, her son, or her lawyer were allowed in for the board meeting.
“What we’re most afraid of is what they’re doing behind closed doors,” London said. “Regina was removed allegedly as president behind closed doors. What we’re asking for is an opportunity to address that…why was she removed as president and why was she not allowed to be present for that meeting?”
Isenberg believes she knows when the trouble started.
“It has to do about an inheritance,” she said. “We got an inheritance…large inheritance and since then we’ve had problems, we didn’t have problems when we were very broke.”
Isenberg’s son, Walter, said she has tried to work things out with those on the board through dealing with health issues since February.
“She broke her patella. She had to learn to walk over again. She was in a skilled nursing facility. While she was in that skilled nursing facility, people were bringing by checks for her to sign for payroll. She was still taking calls on her cell phone,” Walter said. “We even attempted mediation with them before and there was no real offer extended other than ‘You can continue to raise funds and come pet cats but by no means will you have any operational control over this facility again.'”
During the meeting, Isenberg’s supporters met in a parking lot across the street since they were not allowed on the shelter’s property.
“That woman has the biggest heart for the animals,” supporter Denise Gash said. “It would be a crime if she was to be separated from those animals.”
The board refused to comment Monday night or address those standing outside. Gash has known Isenberg for more than 25 years and has helped her with fundraising.
“I won’t support them anymore if they pull Regina out,” Gash said. “It’s always been Regina because we all know her heart.”
Isenburg has another meeting with her lawyer Tuesday to determine the next steps.