The leaders of the SPCA of Niagara hired John A. Faso as executive
director in April 2010 after interviewing a series of “remarkable”
“We were really impressed with the quality, but John stood out,”
board President Bruno A. “Brandy” Scrufari III said at the time. “We
were confident he’s here to stay for quite some time.”
Those high hopes came crashing down Monday as the board voted to
fire its embattled executive director after a month of criticism and
a scathing report outlining a dysfunctional culture and unnecessary
and cruel euthanasia practices.
“This is a quick, decisive, positive reaction to go forward,” said
Paul J. Cambria Jr., the defense attorney advising the board.
“They’re well on their way to fixing it.”
It took less than one week for them to act after getting the report.
No, not here (although the description might fit):
SPCA of Erie County, New York reported on the animal shelter in
neighboring Niagara County, New York.
Also the parts about “horrific” animal cruelty and
“excruciatingly painful” euthanasia may sound familiar.
In part of her report, Carr writes, “It’s clear that the NCSPCA is
dysfunctional in many ways. Without standard operating procedures,
without careful record keeping and record retrieval, without trust
of one another, without a clear chain or command, with any
strategies to improve, this organization will continue to disappoint
and enrage the community,”
She continues, “there is an overwhelming culture of distrust at the
shelter. Some staff distrust the Executive Director, the Executive
Director distrusts many of the board members, many board members
distrust the Executive Director and some staff and volunteers
distrust some staff and staff distrusts some volunteers. Everyone
seems to distrust someone associated with the SPCA. They gossip,
pass on written complaints about each other to one another, try to
get each other fired, go behind backs of one another to people in
authority and make complaints. The evaluation team has witnessed
this rather childish behavior at all levels of the organization, by
board members, the Executive Director, staff members, and
Mr. Prichard has made many comments
in reference to several of his employees; in recent news paper
articles and on the evening news indirectly of course that “they”
had bios opinions and even questioned my character in one article.
Mr. Prichard also informed everyone
there were no inhumane treatment issues other than the pot belly pig.
Well I believe in this document from County Manager Joe Prichard to
Ms. Mary Green with Department of Agriculture animal protection says
otherwise. I believe Mr. Prichard’s recent statement to the media
was though our investigation we found no wrong doing… lets list
I believe this was not meant to make the public’s attention. When I
was told to write statements I was told that these people were going to
be prosecuted. Several months went by and this remained silent, I waited
for the county board memebers to to do the right thing. What happened
was the infamous memo; which indicated we were not allowed to contact any
law enforcement agency about crimes or we would be held accountable for
discrediting a county employee. And it would be considered as an attack
against a county employee. Whoever if we contacted our county manager
it would be handled (I’m not quite sure how many times he needed to be
contacted about the issues at the shelter). As I clearly remember in the
first meeting he had at the shelter many years ago… Joe Prichard said
“I’ll fire everyone except Linda Patelski, Kay Jones and Michelle
Shultz” so I’m a little confused, the memo we got on September 22,
2010 said we wouldn’t be retaliated against if we followed the chain
of command (so does it mean if we report crimes to law enforcement we
will be retaliated against?) Clearly so, I assure you. The issues need
to be resolved.
And I continue to ask, since my email of a couple of months ago to
the Sheriff never received an answer, where is law enforcement when
there clearly are illegal acts of animal cruelty occurring here? We
made a big deal (appropriately) several years ago about a dog that was
intentionally set on fire by local people, but these violations are all
the more difficult to understand since they appear to be happening at
the hands of the very people sworn to protect our county’s animals.
—– Forwarded Message —-
From: “King, Shirley”
Sent: Wed, October 27, 2010 2:21:02 PM
Subject: Open Records Request
Ms. Leavens, as you requested under the Georgia Open Records Act,
please find message from the custodian of records for Animal Protection
If we may assist you any further, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Shirley J. King
Open Records Coordinator
The attached PDF is
Interestingly, although that message from
Patricia Mitchell, “Animal Protection Office Custodian of Records”
“Once the investigation is complete and closed all documents will be provided to you.”
it also says:
“By policy the department only retains 2 years (2008 & 2009) inactive files
and 1 years (2010) active files.”
So if the investigation takes more than 2 years, do the earlier files
about it start to vanish?
John, this is the first open records reguest I did with GDA. The rest
will be in order of date of the request.
The document Shirley King attached for Item #2 was this
of a letter
from Joe Pritchard of 27 August 2010
telling USDA GDA all employees (presumably of the animal
shelter) had been drug-tested and were being interviewed.
Documents about the animal shelter are appearing
here on the LAKE web pages.
Here are the messages Susan Leavens forwarded along with this particular letter.
Please understand that there are state laws that people get arrested for
each day also; the county ordiance mirrors the state law(s) however if
you have not read the statements no one was arrested either. And do you
think the bulldog was the first incident? Keep reading!! Below are some
other things which have occured in the shelter.
These are the open records that me and another animal control officer
sent to GDA
and I also have Amanda Jordans Statement if you would like
that. Please excuse some of the language in my statement she (pat smith
GDA inspector) told me to write it like it was said….