Thursday, October 11, 2012

Letter of Resignation to Greenhill: Tasha Roberts

Admin Comment: While Tasha was employed by Greenhill she would call me just about every week to vent about what she'd witnessed. As she spoke, we'd cry together. It was horrific. It was then that I decided that as Dog as my witness, Greenhill would change so that no more animals were abused behind the scenes. There are many things she told me that aren't in this letter. Really, horrible, cruel things, things that gave me nightmares. Our efforts here at No Kill Lane County are also for the staff that have experienced these awful things, and have been forever changed by them. Tasha Roberts worked for Greenhill for over a year and quit in disgust in August 2011. Recently, Greenhill offered her a job, and she declined.
I have added the bolding and italics.
Letter of resignation:

From: Tasha Roberts

To: Cary Lieberman
Sent: Saturday, August 13, 2011 3:58 PM
Subject: Fw: Why I left...
Prior to my employment I envisioned Greenhill and its employees to be highly compassionate, with the animals as the number one priority. For that reason I was thrilled when I received the job to work in the cattery. Unfortunately I quickly learned that that was not the case. I wanted to quit my first week when I went to Rhonda concerned about an adoption. I was shocked when she said that I could not deny applications and said "I don't care what happens after the adoption, even if the cat goes out and gets hit by a car two hours later, all that matters is that we found her a home." It was at that moment all respect I had for Greenhill "Humane" Society shattered.

I had to hand over a kitten to people that I knew were not capable of caring for her and there was nothing I could do about it. I had to take a break and go outside because I could not stop crying. This is something I have had to do many times, hand over cats and kittens to people that clearly are not capable of caring for them because Rhonda doesn't think it matters where they end up so long as they are adopted. All that matters is the quantity of adoptions not the quality of life the cats will have in their new homes. There is practically no screening process. Anyone with $85 can walk out with a kitten. All they have to do is circle the place that says they own their home. Who checks to see if that is really true? No one. I cannot stand the guilt of putting another cat or kitten in a box and handing them over to someone that I do not feel will properly care for them. Recently a person that appeared homeless applied for a cat, even putting Probono as their Veterinarian. He was approved. It just shows what the real priorities are, "the numbers" not the animals.
Last kitten season there was a starving baby kitten that was surrendered. I found her screaming in a blanket in Lab. I knew she was going to be euthanized but I couldn't stand to see her starving. It was sad enough that she was going to be killed simply because she didn't have teeth, the least we could do is feed her and not let her die hungry. After all, that would be the humane thing to do. [A Greenhill employee] told me "No, don't feed her. [a Greenhill manager] will get mad because she says if we feed them we will bond with them and then it will be hard on us when they are put to sleep." I was disgusted that she could stand there and see this starving baby and not feed it. I fed her anyway, then called a couple people until I found someone to take her. So she wasn't euthanized after all. But the fact that one of my close coworkers could stand there watching a starving baby scream for food and refuse to feed her when there were bottles and formula two doors down really upset me.
Another example: It was a day that [a Greenhill manager] and Dr. Schroder were both gone. There was a cat that didn't feel well and wasn't eating. I told [a Greenhill employee] we should probably give the cat fluids and a/d, since that is what we always do. [The co-worker] said "I wouldn't do that, Dr Schroder might get mad because it's a waste of fluids." A waste? Once again I was totally disgusted by her lack of compassion, as well as Dr Schroder if she truly would see it as a "waste." A bag of fluids costs next to nothing not to mention most of it is donated and I thought that’s what it was for. But I guess he wasn't worthy...
I have also seen nothing but abuse in the surgery suite since I started in February 2010. Cats waking up while being neutered, trying to pull them selves off of the table while their testicles are still being ripped out... dull blades being used over and over again…needles not being changed in between cats. [a Greenhill volunteer] would reverse every cat with the SAME needle! They said it didn't matter because the cats were asleep. I went to Rhonda about this, she did nothing. She didn't even listen to me. Talking to her is like talking to a brick wall. She has no emotion and never listens. After so called "Doctor" Allan was hired, the surgery suite practically turned in to a torture chamber. I walked into the surgery suite one day to see him on top of a pit bull on the floor, slamming him back on to the ground over and over yelling at the top of his lungs "Stop fighting you mother fucker!!" The dog was terrified and doing everything he could to get away. "Doctor" Allan continued to slam him back on the ground and scream at him. I couldn't help but cry watching that poor dog fight to get away from him. There was nothing I could do so I just had to leave. This is only one of many animals he abused while working at Greenhill. I quit bringing in cats for surgery all together and started going to WAG, as did many other people.
I also remember a little grey and white tuxedo manx kitten and her brother Cowboy. I can't remember the kitten’s name but she was very sick. Neither [the Greenhill manager] nor Dr Schroder were there that day. It was almost time to clock out. Everyone was getting ready to leave. She was miserable and clearly dying. No one seemed to care. I couldn't just walk out and leave her like that. I talked to Rhonda, but to no surprise, she didn't care. I told her I wanted to take her home for the night so that she could at least be comfortable and loved while she passed instead of being alone in a cage. Rhonda coldly said "It makes no difference if she dies alone in a cage or at your house, she’s going to die either way." Then she left, without a care in the world about what that kitten was going through. I asked [a Greenhill employee] if I could foster her for the night and she said yes, so I took her home. I stayed in touch with Dr Schroder through the evening. I made her as comfortable as I could and gave her the best last night possible. I made sure she knew someone cared about her before she died. It was clear that I was the only one that did.
It is also upsetting that Greenhill only takes in cats in perfect condition, while rejecting the cats that truly need help the most. Why? Are they are a hassle? Do they cost too much money? Take up too much time? Isn't that what Greenhill is for, to help animals in need? Or just pick up the easy cases and keep a good reputation with the public?

I also do not feel Greenhill is honest with the public. Many people are told Greenhill follows the No Kill guidelines and Cary says we do not euthanize for behavior or aggression. Both of those things are not true. Greenhill does euthanize cats that are aggressive. I am not saying that I am against this so long as the cat truly is given a fair chance and still proves to be unadoptable. But whether I agree or not, it is not fair to mislead the public. Also euthanizing for ringworm and bottle babies absolutely does not fall with in the No Kill guildlines.
I am tired of seeing everyone walking around with out a spine, without a mind of their own, without standing up when they know something is wrong or unethical. I am sick of feeling unappreciated and replaceable when I know I am one of the hardest working, devoted and compassionate people at Greenhill. Daily I went above and beyond to improve the quality of life for the cats in our care. Yet I always felt like I was in trouble for one thing or another. Rarely were the good things I did pointed out and every time I made the smallest mistake I was in trouble.

Rules were always changing. One person would tell me to do things one way and another person would say something completely different. No matter what I did I was doing something wrong. For example there was a walk in cat that we took. She tested negative but was infested with fleas and a slight URI. I put her in ISO and gave her Frontline and Droncit. I got in trouble because there was a possibility she was going to be put to sleep and I just wasted Frontline and Droncit. Had I not given it to her I know I would have gotten in trouble for that too and asked "Well if you saw fleas why didn't you give her flea control?" This is something that I had to deal with daily. I always felt like I was treated and talked to like I was stupid. If I do something, I’m told I shouldn't have done it but had I not done it (what ever "it" is) then I am in trouble because I didn't and should have! You can't win for losing.
This is all in random order but another thing that just showed me how little I am appreciated was when I asked Rhonda if we ([co-workers] and I) could have a couple of the donated dog crates to recover cats in. Rhonda said "No, we can sell and make money off of those." I have spent thousands of dollars of my own money and countless hours trapping, recovering and caring for feral cats. If it weren't for us I don't see how Greenhill could even keep the TNR program going. No one is willing to put in the time and money like we do. We simply asked one little favor, to have a couple dog crates so that the cats are more comfortable after surgery. But to Rhonda, money is always more important.
When I first started at Greenhill many people I knew were very upset. A few even begged me not to take the job. They told me "don't turn in to one of them." I didn't understand what they meant at the time, but it didn't take me long to find out. I came in to Greenhill thinking that I would be surrounded by people who are compassionate and truly care for the animals. That was not the case.
Bottom line: I am leaving Greenhill because the animals themselves are not a top priority. The employees are also not listened to and they are disrespected and unappreciated by upper management. And by upper management, I mean Rhonda and Dr. Schroder. So long as they have anything to do with Greenhill, things will never improve.

Tasha Roberts