Lofthouse responds on spay/neuter process

August 24, 2013

I want to respond to letters criticizing Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary for not having 30 cats spayed or neutered when Cindy Wood purged the sanctuary of any feline presence. I investigated the issue so that I was clear on where responsibility falls.

Admittedly, there were cats needing to be altered at Safe Haven. Why was this? To understand, I drew on the advice of noted executive directors with decades of experience who kindly shared with me their time. All told me that, while shelters have their own procedures, it is the operations manager who directs spaying and neutering. The OM usually sets out a process vet techs follow so the OM does not even get directly involved.


The executive directors to whom I spoke noted that on occasion an OM might discuss spay/neuters with their executive director. Ann Cavanagh of Delaware SPCA got a grant this winter to offer spays for $20! This might be where an ED and OM might caucus to identify how they might save money getting cats altered and vaccinated.


Now, who at Safe Haven was operations manager? The answer is Cindy Wood! Therefore, Cindy Wood had not only the right but the obligation to get the cats altered as part of her job. Cindy could have on her own called Cavanagh at the Delaware SPCA to arrange a mass spaying for Safe Haven cats; Ann Cavanagh is most helpful, and her focus is to reduce euthanasia through spay/neuter. I know she would have helped Wood.


Now, remember that I was advised that operations managers sometimes discuss spay/neuter issues with their executive directors. Oh! Cindy was interim executive director at Safe Haven from January 2013 on. Therefore, Cindy occupied the two most important positions in any shelter with regard to the decision-making process regarding animal care, including spaying and neutering.


After reading a letter to the Cape Gazette blaming the SH Board for not spay/neutering Safe Haven cats, I asked several executive directors if their board members oversaw this process. All of them said no without hesitation or reservation. If anyone on the KCSPCA Board has directed spay/neuters, please write in. Kevin Usilton told me he had a system in place that covered spay/neuters, and that someone working under him oversaw this process, as well as other shelter protocol. He does not get directly involved.


It shows a lack of knowledge and understanding of shelter operations for anyone to assert that the Safe Haven Board should have overseen altering cats when they had an interim executive director/operations manager in place - Cindy Wood!


Lynn J. Lofthouse Ph.D.
associate professor of speech communications
Wesley College


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