Shelter criticism leads to donation drop

EDGECOMB, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The people who run the Lincoln County Animal Shelter in Edgecomb say the shelter is facing financial problems after a local controversy over how it had been managed.

An ex-board member and several other people complained to local papers and on Facebook about the previous shelter board's financial decisions. Now, the new board president says the negative publicity has caused donations to drop off.

Kathy Williams says they don't have a crisis yet, but if donations don't increase they could be in trouble.

The controversy started in the spring, with allegations from an ex-board member, and then some others, that the board did not provide good financial oversight, and that the woman who had been president for 30 years had become an obstacle to progress.

Williams says that because of that controversy, along with some other issues, all but one of those old board members left, a new board was formed, and a new president was elected. She says they have hired an outside company to do a full audit and investigation of the shelter's financial records, and the results will be made public.

Williams says it appears the former board did not manage the finances well, and that record-keeping was sloppy. As a result, she says, they don't know where a lot of the money went, including money from bequests and investments. She says they hope the audit will answer a lot of those questions.

Williams and board Vice President Lucy Harrington say they have made many changes to ensure proper financial oversight, so that donors can be confident their money will be properly spent. "And we need to show them we're accountable for that money," said Williams. "We will show them where its going. Any time they want to meet with us board members its an open door policy."

They say some donors have come back, and that several local businesses have made large donations of pet food. In addition, the Boothbay Harbor thrift shop that provides much of the shelter's funding is apparently having a busy summer. Harrington says they hope that along with restored confidence in the board, it will help get the shelter back on solid financial ground.


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