Humane society fundraisers bled money

Between April and December 2012, the Humane Society Yukon spent just over $40,000 on fundraising events. But in the same period, these events generated just under $20,000. This does not include money raised through collection boxes or bingos.

Between April and December 2012, the Humane Society Yukon spent just over $40,000 on fundraising events. But in the same period, these events generated just under $20,000. This does not include money raised through collection boxes or bingos.

Much of the money spent on fundraising was to bring up dog trainer and celebrity personality Brad Pattison, board members told society members gathered Monday night at the Canada Games Centre.

Members had gathered to pass financial statements so they could be submitted to the government. And those events just didn’t make money, members learned. Pattison first visited Whitehorse last June and returned amid public outcry in September. Also in September, the society paid to have television personalities Rescue Ink visit.

Some humane society members protested Pattison’s visits, asserting that the trainer’s methods were abusive to animals. Those protests led to the society refusing to renew some memberships in July.

But the events did more than just increase turmoil on the board. They also added to financial woes.

The fundraising costs account for about one-tenth of the society’s expenses between April and December. Those expenses were just under $450,000. Revenue for the entire period was just under $350,000.

Not all of the fundraising expenses were spent on bringing up Pattison or Rescue Ink, Shelley Cuthbert, president during the events, said in an email on Tuesday. It also included costs for activities like car washes, raffles and a spay and neuter clinic.

But bringing up Pattison and Rescue Ink accounted for a lot of it.

Pattison’s fees were $3,200 each time, said Cuthbert. Rescue Ink’s fee was $4,000. Combined, appearance costs for the celebrities equals over $10,000 – a quarter of the amount spent on fundraising. Flights for both of Pattison’s appearances were donated, and so was his hotel and vehicle for the first event, said Cuthbert. The society paid for his hotel and vehicle in September. It also paid for some of Rescue Ink’s travel expenses.

To make money on fundraisers, the society needed to invest in them, she said.

But the society isn’t making money. That is, in large part, because it still hasn’t regained charitable status with the government. Without it, it can’t host bingos. Bingo accounts for about a third of its revenue.

After last April to December, the society had a shortfall of over $90,000. In comparison, the society’s debt at the end of its 2011-2012 financial year, which ended in March, was just over $8,500.

It still has about $40,000 in debt, treasurer Chris Nemeth said after Monday’s meeting. A lot of this comes from unpaid veterinary or bookkeeping bills.

The old board “failed to do its job properly,” president Hoby Irwin told the gathered members at the meeting. The current board, elected in December, has spent months tracking down financial information to send to its accountants in Ottawa. It finally received all the information they need last week, just in the nick of time. The deadline for submitting financials to the government was April 30. “We’re sliding right under the wire,” Irwin said after the meeting.

Irwin does not know when the society will receive its charitable status back, he told members.

In December, the Yukon Supreme Court ordered the society to hold its annual general meeting to elect a new board and pass financial statements. Seann Springford was elected president at the time, but resigned in February for personal reasons. Irwin, then vice-president, took over. Originally, he planned to be president only until financials could be approved. But after the meeting, he told reporters he plans to stay on in the role for at least a year and see what happens next.

Contact Meagan Gillmore at

mgillmore@yukon-news.com