Caddo Parish Animal Services – AGAIN on Fire!

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Caddo Commissioners
Caddo Commissioners

The Caddo Parish Animal Shelter is again the center of controversy as Director Everett Harris seems the focus of animal service group ire. This stream of emails and yesterday’s Parish Commission meeting drew major attention, and Thursday, August 14 will bring a march in downtown Shreveport demanding the resignation of Harris by dissatisfied citizens.

 

Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 3:25 PM

Subject: Threatening Incident at CPASMC

Dear Commissioners,

I ask that you please read my written statement on the events that occurred today and I beg that you take action.

dogs need a good homeOn August 13, 2014, at 10:30, I had a meeting with the Shelter Manager and Adoptions Coordinator at Caddo Parish Animal Services shelter. As I sat down with both of them, Mr. Harris, Director, walked into the room, grabbed a piece of paper off the table that I had tried to pass to the shelter manager, and asked what I was trying to do. I responded that I was simply trying to meet with and make some small suggestions to help get more animals out of the shelter alive. He responded with “Reed, don’t you ever walk your butt in here again and tell the workers how to do their jobs, meeting over”. Mr. Harris then stormed out of the room with both workers following him. I asked one worker, the adoptions coordinator, to ask Mr. Harris to come talk to me so I could apologize for the miscommunication and simply tell him what I was trying to do. He started walking back, stopped at the door, and addressed Chuck Wilson, the Assistant Director, and stated in a very loud tone “Chuck, did you know what they were trying to do”. He came in and sat down with the assistant director and the shelter manager. From there, I apologized repeatedly to Mr. Harris and stated that I was simply trying to make some small suggestions to help get dogs out of the shelter alive, and that I never tried to tell any worker how to do their job, just make constructive suggestions. He stated that if I wanted to help him, I should go talk to the general public and not the shelter staff. I stated from there that I have done so, going door to door in Caddo Heights, and explaining the current targeted spay/neuter initiatives that he refused to partner with us on, which I stated was okay. He proceeded to tell me that I could help him by taking 300 dogs right now, then, when I said I couldn’t do that, he proceeded to harass me, by lowering the number again and again, and asking me if I could take that many. He also told me that they had schooling in shelter management, and that “your butt, coming off the street, isn’t going to tell us how to do things”. I explained that I was simply attempting to make minor suggestions to help get more dogs out alive, based on my experiences with rescues and being at the shelter for more than a year as a rescue volunteer. Later, he told me that I would never set foot in his stray hold area. Despite the fact that I am granted access to the cat stray area multiple times a week, he told me that I would never set foot in the dog stray area, after I had suggested that there were dogs being euthanized that we could find rescues for. I stated that, same as our policy for cat stray hold, we could simply put a note on a dog’s kennel that said if this dog isn’t redeemed or moved to adoption, instead of euthanasia, we could move it to a rescue, saving money and a dog’s life. At first, Mr. Harris specifically told me it was against “the law” for me to set foot in the stray area. I corrected Mr. Harris, stating that no law prohibits me from setting foot in the stray area, and he then said “Well then I am telling you, you will NOT set foot in the stray area of this facility”. I asked for a reason why, and he stated that I had selective hearing, that no matter the reason why, I was not going to be allowed into the stray area as an animal rescuer. Lastly, he told me that one day, when I was older and wiser, I would realize that what I was doing was a waste of time. Lastly, Mr. Harris accused me of having one of my “cronies”, as he referred to her as, of taking pictures of animals in stray hold and posting them on Facebook, attempting to find the owner. Not only was this not true, I was the person who, after finding out about the pictures, went out of my way to have them removed from Facebook, to contact the woman and tell her this was against the rules of the shelter, then I went even further and called Mr. Wilson to apologize and let him know that not only was she not affiliated with me, I corrected the situation to the best of my ability. I, in fact, did not even know the woman. Mr. Harris then asked if I had any more questions, I replied that I did not, and he and the staff all left the room, leaving me alone in the conference room, breaking Mr. Harris’ own policy of escorting all visitors around the facility. From there, I had to find my own way out of the facility.

Throughout the 20 minute conversation, Mr. Harris repeatedly made disparaging remarks aimed at my youth, which I found quite insulting. I found his raised tone of voice, hostility, and demeanor very threatening, especially considering I was only there with good intentions, and to make small suggestions aimed at helping the shelter and the parish save lives and money. Even if the suggestions were denied, I felt as though the least Mr. Harris could have done is treated me with respect, not made disparaging comments aimed at my age, my job, and me in general. I also found his mocking of my attempts to get dogs out alive, rather than through euthanasia, very insulting and unprofessional. Lastly, I found his hostility and threatening demeanor toward a person who has worked with the shelter to find more than 350 animals homes through rescue pulls, saving the parish hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, highly unprofessional at the least, if not grounds for removal. I believe that Mr. Harris should not speak to any member of the public in a threatening manner, as that also breaks his own policy, and in many work places, is grounds for immediate removal.

I am currently the Vice-President of Companions of Caddo Parish Animal Shelter and the President and Chief Executive Officer of Shreveport Bossier Animal Rescue. Between the two groups, we make up nearly every rescue pull from the shelter, and are currently two of the very few organizations that work with Caddo Parish Animal Services. I have personally been at the shelter coordinating rescue pulls more than 100 times over the past year, and this is not the first time I have been subjected to harassment and unprofessionalism by Mr. Harris, but it is the first time I have spoken up, due to his threatening nature. I have been able to pull more than 350 animals from Caddo Parish Animal Services, and am constantly doing anything I can to help the shelter. However, I am afraid of returning to the shelter, and likely will not do so for some time. This is due to the threatening nature of the director, and my own safety and well-being. If I do return at any time, I would do so only with escort.

I beg of the commissioners to please do something to help me. I simply want to get dogs and cats out of the shelter alive, and be allowed at the shelter without fear of my own well-being.

Sincerely,

Reed S. Ebarb

Vice President

Companions of Caddo Parish Animal Shelter & President & CEO

Shreveport Bossier Animal Rescue

Commissioner Lynch

Having attended several meetings with the committee to which you refer, and after speaking with Everett Harris on more than one occasion about change, I am totally unsurprised by yesterday’s events. This is another direct example of the “can’t do” culture that is attributable to Mr. Harris. Unless you as a Commission require specific action and administration enforces it, Mr. Harris has repeatedly shown his resistance to operational change.

I have been one of those who has hoped the Commission, the Parish administration and Mr. Harris himself would effect easily accomplished changes. The solution of more meetings to give Mr. Harris other opportunities to obstruct is vain and useless.

I’m sorry you have already determined that these concerns lack merit and that you so easily dismiss citizen concerns over the kill rate and delivering improved public service.

Respectfully,

Dan Keele

######################%

Dan,

You have my utmost respect for your community engagement and concern, and I appreciate it very much.

However, I will give no thought or consideration to the meritless request to terminate or ask for the resignation of Mr. Harris.

The Commission sets or affirms policies for the shelter. Your questions and concerns should be brought to the Animal Services Committee of the Commission.

Instead, you all have made your concerns wholly about Mr. Harris’ personality and management style, which is simply puzzling to me.

I hope that cooler, and more mature heads prevail in this matter.

Commissioner Stephanie Lynch

_________________________________

Dear Commissioners:

You’ve heard the many complaints before.

Everett Harris still has his job.  He continues to bully his staffers.  He’s rude and tyrannical with those trying to help out at the animal control shelter.

If he doesn’t care about the people, how can he possibly care about the animals for which he is responsible and over which he has life-and-death control.

He’s unfit to have this position. He’s unfit to be involved with animals in any capacity.

Do the right thing for the community. It’s bad enough that the shelter is a kill shelter with extremely high rates of euthanasia. But having the absolute wrong person in charge of it is an error that can easily be rectified by dismissing (or requesting the immediate resignation of) Everett Harris.

Thank you for demonstrating quickly that you really are responsive to the people of Caddo Parish.

Cordially,

Carole and Ted Lingo

Dear Commissioners :

      When are you going to do something about Mr. Harris at the Animal Shelter???? When someone like him keeps doing what he can do to make the situation at the pound worse for the animals it is only going to make more people aware of how bad things are. He has angered enough people now that protests will continue, more people will be made aware of the situation and those who do nothing to get rid of him will continue to be in the news.

      It is too easy to get things to go viral now. Do you really want Caddo Parish/ Shreveport to once again be in the news with how bad things are at the animal shelter? The media will be at the protest this morning and I will certainly do my part to let the world know how this man treats animals and the people that are trying to help.

    Going viral,

     Marijo Brown

It seems that there has been yet another confrontation between Mr. Everett Harris and a citizen involved in rescue, who is trying desperately to reduce the euthanasia rate at Caddo Parish Animal Services and Mosquito Control.  My friend, Louise Texada, has expressed it about as well as I ever could.  “Mr. Harris has repeatedly alienated people in our community, such as Reed Ebarb, that are capable and willing to improve CPAS. His boss, Dr. Wilson, Caddo Parish Administrator and the Caddo Parish Commissioners have known about this pattern for well over a year and have done nothing about it….oh, they did form a committee of a few commissioners and some animal group representatives…but when the problem is the director (with ALL the authority) and the lack of oversight by the Parish Administrator and Parish Commissioners, nothing changes but the date.”  When will we have enough?  Mr. Harris makes it look good on paper, but the law does not address the thousands of animals that are destroyed there every year, and reducing the euthanasia rate does not seem to be on his list of issues to address.  Further, he alienates and is hostile to people who are trying to address that problem.  Please, do something.  Find a shelter director who cares.

Sharon DeCarlo

Dear Commissioners,   

Ladies & Gentleman,  I call upon you to make not only an “ethical”  decision but also a decision of one that simply has a heart and proclaims to be human! I am in full support of Reed Ebarb and founder of Companions of Caddo Parish Animal Shelter, Ashley Delrie. 

I beg you to insist on the resignation of Director Harris or his termination!!!  This man is a crude, heartless excuse for a human being and INAPPROPRIATE to care for the welfare of INNOCENT ANIMALS.  A director of this facility MUST be someone who makes decisions with the animals best interest at heart! Not what is quickest and easiest! This man cannot continue to “murder”  these dogs without giving them a chance of survival! Is this how “Man’s best friend” should be treated? This evil man cannot continue to threaten and harass volunteers. If he truly cared about these INNOCENT animals, he would do everything in his power to help them.  Reed Ebarb is responsible for saving hundreds of animals by rescue alone. He works endless hours to help these animals.  Harris has threatened him & others numerous times if they returned  To the shelter!  Reed takes pics of the dogs, shares

Them on social media like facebook so the dogs can be seen . The pics of the dogs get shared throughout facebook . The possibilities of adoption or rescue are 

endless! Shutting out volunteers like Reed will GREATLY reduce the chances of saving animals! Now, ask yourselves this question: would someone who TRULY cared about the welfare of animals shut out the possibility of saving their lives? No, they would not!  Ladies & Gentlemen, there is enough INHUMANITY to animals without adding to it.  YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! You will have support from Animal Rights Activist everywhere as the social media will give credit where credit is due and support you in your future endeavors. However, the hundreds of people who will attend the meeting this morning & social media , WILL NOT take the decision to retain Harris as director lightly. 

People of power CAN make a difference! Please , I beg you to DO THE RIGHT THING. Please be the ones to MAKE THE DIFFERENCE!   PLEASE be the Leaders who care! Be the leader to set a good example!    

In the end, as the bible says, “NO WRONGFUL ACT, PAIN OR SUFFERING TO ALL INNOCENT ANIMALS WILL GO UNPUNISHED! ”  The Lord will hold you accountable for all your actions..GOOD AND BAD!!! Turning your head the other way does not free you from this wrong doing! 

PLEASE I BEG YOU , READ THE FOLLOWING WITH AN OPEN MIND ….. (1) Animal activist ALL OVER the world are being beaten, starving for not leaving post as they are fighting for the lives of  INNOCENT dogs in the DOGMEAT & Fur business in China, S.Korea & others that keeps growing might I add–; (2) There are COUNTLESS pictures of dogs posted DAILY, hourly ,of dogs @ shelters all over the US who’s time is up & hoping someone will come save this baby before its too late or they will be EUTHANIZED! (3) way to many pics of animals who are not just starving or have nobody to love them BUT BEING TORTURED, BEATEN with a bat, tied to a motorcycle and drag behind til little paws are raw & bleeding , and even SET ON FIRE!  Dear God how horrible this world is to these INNOCENT BABIES who are filled with love JUST FOR US!  They just need a chance!  These dogs did nothing wrong.  Their owners are to blame for not controlling pet population!  As I type this message trying to see past the blur of MANY HEARTFELT TEARS , I humbly ask you Ladies & Gentlemen, THE POWERS THAT BE, for compassion in this very, very, important matter. 

Thank you for your time. 

Have A Blessed Day

Tammy Tisdale 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Mr. Harris is unfit for any position involving animal care or the public good.  He gives the city a bad name and the shelter a worse reputation. He is a nasty, petty, inept dictator and I have seen no evidence whatsoever that the welfare of the animals in his care is even on his mind.  He would apparently rather see them die than re-homed.  He has declined – unpleasantly and with no small amount of hostility – every offer of help or support.  Shame on him for his indifference and bullying and callousness.  Shame on every one of you for allowing him to remain.

Barbara Beaird
3826 Baltimore Avenue
Shreveport, La.  71106

I am writing in support of the plea calling for the resignation of Caddo Parish Animal Services director Everett Harris. The threatening incident involving Reed Ebarb is only a glimpse into the problem with Harris’ position at CPAS. The fact of the matter is change is needed so desperately and so much perspective has been lost by the power struggle in administration that Shreveport makes the list for one of the highest euthanasia rates in the country. At our basic moral center, the treatment of our animals in our community has direct reflection on our character. If we can’t work at saving a dog on the street, how will we EVER be able to save one another? 

These are dire times for CPAS. The status quo is UNACCEPTABLE and public outrage is growing by the day. There are solutions to work smarter, not harder, and save rather than kill. All of which benefit the community financially and socially. But there has to be the chance to implement them, and show the rest of the state and country that we are a progressive, compassionate parish with effective policies and caring people. 

The change begins with you, commissioners. I ask you to use this opportunity to bring meaningful change, a duty held so highly in a position as significant as yours.

Katie Ho
(318) 525-4119

On Aug 11, 2014, at 12:45 PM, “Harris, Everett” <eharris@caddo.org> wrote:

Mrs. Slack,

Good afternoon, I apologize that you didn’t receive an answer concerning your request for mosquito spraying in your neighborhood. On our webpage, http://www.caddo.org we have a section for reporting a concern. Under our department (ASMC), we have two options – Animal Control Request  and Mosquito Control Spray Request. As you know from working with our department rescuing animals with Reed Ebarb and Ashley Delrie, we are open on Saturdays from 10am – 2pm with a limited staff. Our Saturday operations are mainly focused on adoptions as you know and all other request outside of normal business hours are covered by King’s answering service. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask and have a blessed day.

V/R

Everett Harris
Director
Animal Services and Mosquito Control
Parish of Caddo
1500 Monty Street,
Shreveport, Louisiana  71101
(318) 226-6987 office
(318) 429-7676 fax
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” Colossians 3-23 KJV

—–Original Message—–

From: STEPHANIE SLACK
Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2014 12:17 PM
To: Harris, Everett
Subject: Saturday hours

I tried to call several time between 10 and 2 on Saturday and got a recording stating that CPAS & MC is closed. The recording gave me M-F hours. I am trying to report a mosquito issue in my neighborhood.

Thank you,

S. Slack

Dr. Wilson and Commissioners,

Here is yet another example of Mr. Harris alienating someone capable and willing to improve the situation for cats and dogs at CPAS. So, once again, I want to implore you to realize that our community deserves someone willing to implement positive change instead of someone threatened by it. 

Mr. Harris is not a bad person BUT he is in a bad position and you all (Dr. Wilson and Commissioners) are letting him stay there.  Please reassign him.  He lacks the vision to embrace and facilitate what needs to be changed at CPAS.  He continues to support the status quo and to meet challenges with defensiveness and hostility.  I know that all of you are well aware of this pattern. 

Sincerely,

Mary Louise Texada
250 Carrollton Ave.
Shreveport, La. 71105

 

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