HomeAnimal RescueCat sheltersshelter contractsShelter Director Fired Because She Euthanised 14 Cats Exposed to Ringworm


Shelter Director Fired Because She Euthanised 14 Cats Exposed to Ringworm — 20 Comments

  1. The only reason ringworm becomes a problem and perhaps ” difficult” to
    eliminate from shelters, Michael, is because of poor intake protocols (no quarantine/isolation until properly checked out) and because of poor hygiene and husbandry in the shelter. They could have isolated the cats that they themselves es (the veterinarian, no less) exposed to one cat. and in fact none may have developed ringworm, therefore none may have required medication. While private veterinarians might want to culture to definitively diagnose, signs of ringworm are usually fairly obvious and cultures wouldn’t be necessary for every cat in an exposed group. Each could be treated as a precaution if necessary, since cultures take a while to grow anyway. Over the counter fungal creams work well and are inexpensive, as are bleach baths. Even if fulvicin or itraconozole etc. are needed they wouldn’t be $800 or even anywhere near $250 for just one cat. Our compounding pharmacist made the meds up for us at a cost of under $25 per cat for four weeks’ worth.

  2. Miss Conklin made a series of mistakes. As the Executive Director of an organization that was created and is maintained to protect animals she failed in fulfilling her primary duty. The cats could have been spared by following a readily available and generally accepted protocol. Instead she had them killed. She involved untrained staff in a procedure they were not trained to do. She is not authorized to do this. Because of her position of authority these staff may have felt compelled to follow her orders. They also have grounds to complain against her: abuse of authority. Because they were untrained, staff may have performed the kill-procedure improperly, thereby rendering both themselves and Miss Conklin open to a charge of animal cruelty. Then there is the improper and probably illegal use of narcotics. This matter can also attract disciplinary measures or charges against Miss Conklin, untrained staff and the vet. Although it may seem like firing is an extreme measure, this has to be weighed against the impact of a series of poor decisions on the employer, fellow staff and most of all on the cats who were deprived of their lives. My personal belief is that living beings have a right to their lives, and a right to not be deprived of their lives except in the most extreme and clear cases. This was manifestly not the situation here.

    • I completely agree with you, Conklin exercised poor judgement as used her power as the ED to make an irrevocable decision.

      She used her power to save the already flailing organization $$$. Money that was stolen by her predecessor. exercising her power.

      Maybe the entire board of directors should be held accountable, for their negligence in being so quick to hire Conklin.

      What were the damn qualifications for this position anyway?
      What is her work experience, was she a co-owner of a hospice facility? Wasn’t that partnership dissolved, in the few years that she was there? Hey and what a coincidence, wasn’t there a civil law suit filed against the buyer of the hospice she co-owned? alleging some other sort of problems?

      Where is this BOD’s responsibility and their due diligence to these poor animals. The real crime here is that they are asleep behind the wheel.
      Previous E.D. is a thief and the short lived second a killer.

      What a crime, CNY, SPCA board of directors so that leadership can effectively direct others in the research and resolution of issues.

      Always looking out for the almighty dollar bill yo, GREEDY CREEPS!

  3. Ringworm can be an expensive treatment in cats and can range from $200.00 to $500.00 depending on the cost of living and severity of your Cat’s ringworm. On average, the national cost of treating ringworm in cats is $250.00. 14 x $250 is $3,500. They probably would have fired her for blowing the budget, too. Think about how many cats that $3500 will help and she was curbing the outbreak. There are always two sides to a story. If you are concerned about abandoned pets living, though. Never take them to a PETA shelter as they have the highest kill rates.

    Read more at: https://www.vetary.com/cat/condition/ringworm

    • Thanks a lot David for your excellent comment. It’s such a good comment I’m going to cut and pasted it into the article!

  4. Why was the first go to solution euthanasia? At least, she should have worked with rescue groups to get them out before making the decision to kill them all. Ringworm is not a fatal disease and to just kill animals that were only exposed without symptoms is not only wrong, it’s bizarre. And then to have them killed by staff that is not licensed, is inexcusable. As manager she has a sacred trust to care and work for the betterment of the animals. There needs to be both heart and intelligence in managing a shelter. A good manager would find ways to deal with health issues and would explore every avenue to save their lives. These are living creatures, not disposable items to be thrown away. Imagine killing your cat if you found out it had a treatable, fungal infection? Of course you wouldn’t. What she did was wrong and she has proven herself to be unworthy of our trust.

  5. Where are her professional judgment skills. I wouldn’t want someone who could euthanize so easily taking care of my pets.

    • Yes, I had the same thoughts. It may be that she is unsuited to the role but I’ve been generous in my assessment and suggested that she could be trained provided she has other skills which make her a good manager.

  6. I think euthanization is always unnecessary and should only be done as a very last resort for humane reasons. Murdering 14 cats because they were exposed to ringworm? Bigtime mistake here. I would not like to see this person reinstated. Always choose life over death. In my mind this is totally unacceptable.

    • A lot of people would agree with you, Frances. I have been quite generous in my assessment. I suspect that the majority of readers of this article would agree with you.

    • It was certainly a very bad decision by the director. You could argue that she is unsuited to the job. However, I have been quite generous in my assessment and I think perhaps she just made a genuine mistake because she felt that ringworm is so contagious that it would cause a massive problem within the shelter. And it does cause problems in shelters because, as mentioned, it is highly contagious. It is also transmitted to people as you know. Therefore both the cats and the staff in the shelter can end up with it. In addition it is very difficult to get rid of.

      • While I can understand the line of thinking that this was a massive mistake, I can’t find any excuse to tolerate such a mistake. This person was tasked with catering to the welfare of animals and, instead, she had them killed.

        I know some may say this is like comparing apples and oranges, but the core point is identical. If a physician diagnosed a human with a highly contagious strain of influenza, would any notion of exterminating the patient ever be a consideration? It is my humble opinion that not only is she unsuited for the job, but she has betrayed the very fundamental principle she, in both her occupation and employed organization, is duty-bound to safeguard. I wouldn’t say her “mistake” warrants jail time, but, at the very least, it does warrant removing her from a position of authority in which she has proven herself to be grossly negligent to the utmost extreme. No offense intended, just respectfully disagreeing that such a mistake should have any other outcome than being promptly fired.

        • I totally get what you are saying and respect it. I could come to the same conclusion myself. Ringworm is a massive problem though in shelters once it takes hold. It could make the cats unadoptable which would lead to euthanasia anyway.

  7. Her decision to euthanize for a fungus was wrong. Her decision to let staff carry out the procedures was not only wrong, it was illegal and unethical. This was piss poor judgement.

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