Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guest editor Henry “Jock” MacMorran

All AWL members and the HSV community at large are asked to come to a Town Hall meeting at the Coronado Center on Thursday, Sept. 20th at 1:00 p.m. to discuss the current issues and negotiations with the POA and to participate in the development of a united response to the POA Board’s demands.  At stake is the AWL’s role in the operation of the HSV animal shelter.
On August 15th the POA Board refused to consider a request made by the Animal Welfare League to modify the existing Article 5 of the POA Regulation and Control of Pets Policy (POA Declaration, Chapter 3, Article 5.) The current policy defines the “premises” as a Detention Shelter for impounding animals.
During the Aug. 15th POA Board discussion, Director Bryant had it right. The conflict between the POA and the AWL has been going on far too long. He was also right when he stated that most city Animal Control Operations and Shelters handle adoptions of companion animals and provide and pay for the food and medication. This is not true at the Hot Springs Village Detention Shelter. These services are paid for by the Animal Welfare League and in many cases provided by volunteers. Unfortunately, the POA views the AWL as a tenant, not a partner.
POA Director Owens stated that he believed the AWL is behaving like unions he dealt with during his business career by holding out for its demands. The truth is the AWL has demanded nothing from the POA other than to be treated as an equal partner. The POA and the AWL should have mutually agreed objectives aimed at reuniting animals with their owners, finding good homes for as many of the adoptable animals that have been either lost, surrendered, or abandoned in the Village. Furthermore, the companion animals in the Detention Shelter should be treated as victims, not rule breakers in need of being imprisoned.
One POA Director expressed concern that he did not know what the AWL Board wanted and he wanted their request in writing. This concern is odd.  On July 11, 2012 the AWL board delivered to the POA Board work session a one-page memo outlining 4 modifications to the POA policy and asked the POA Board to consider these modifications as an alternative to a contract. The AWL Board took this extraordinary step when it became clear to the AWL Board that a contract with enforceable covenants could not be developed with the POA management.  As a solution, the AWL Board decided to ask the Village’s elected representatives, the POA Board, to modify the existing POA policy on companion animals. This policy is the Article 5 mentioned above. The one page memo was the written request.   Instead of responding to the request, the POA Board now requires the AWL Board take the contract issues to its members. The AWL Board plans to do so on September 20th and to advise the members that this contract has been rejected, to date, primarily because it provides NO remedies to AWL if the POA violates any of its provisions.
Yes, POA Director Kosoglow, I too have doubts that an agreement can be reached but not because the AWL Board and its members have not tried. It is because the POA Board chooses not to listen to the goals and objectives of the League and examine what the POA does to inhibit the achievement of the AWL objectives.
I invite the AWL members and the community to come to the September AWL special Town Hall meeting to hear, in detail, the ongoing operational issues and to participate in a response to the POA.

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