Jeff Heuchert, Gazette staff
Citing a difference in opinion and protocol, the manager of the local animal shelter has resigned from her position just six months after a merger with the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society.
It was supposed to be business as usual at the former Perth County branch of the OSPCA on Douro Street, now the Stratford-Perth Humane Society, after it joined efforts with the larger animal welfare organization this past summer.
But in an interview with the Gazette earlier this week, Sarah Tickner suggested that wasn’t the case.
“We have the same goals, but how we do things are different,” she said.
It’s been speculated Tickner’s abrupt departure is related to a decision to put down approximately 21 cats at the shelter while she was away on training last week.
Tickner confirmed the incident was “one of many” reasons for her decision, adding she doesn't believe protocol was followed with the cats and that she would have handled the situation differently.
Jack Kinch, executive director of the Kitchener-Waterloo and Stratford-Perth humane societies, said the shelter followed its policy for disease control that was in place long before the humane society became involved.
He noted the cats were infected with feline herpes and had not responded to medication over a period of approximately 21 days.
Given the heightened potential for other animals in the shelter to become infected, staff took the appropriate course of actions, Kinch added.
He said a decision to euthanize an animal will typically be made by the veterinarian in consultation with the branch manager and other animal care staff.
In the branch manager’s absence, as was the case last week, other staff do have the authority to make those decisions, he added.
Tickner said that may be the shelter’s policy, but there has never been a time in the past when animals were put down without her making the final decision or being consulted first.
“In my opinion, some of those cats that were put down were not given the full opportunity that they could have been given,” she added.
“I felt I could have potentially done more had I been here for those animals.”
The humane society will immediately begin looking for a replacement for Tickner. Kinch indicated internal candidates are already being assessed and the position may be advertised, as well.