Humane Society Yukon volunteers will be working doggedly this holiday season to make sure the Mae Bachur’s Animal Shelter doors will be open come January.
For a while, it looked like they wouldn’t. Last month, the shelter began laying off staff because it didn’t have enough money to pay them. And it stopped accepting animals.
The Supreme Court ordered the society to hold its annual general meeting on Dec. 20 to elect a new board and review financial statements. The registrar of societies had earlier ordered them to hold the meeting in October, but the board had refused.
In the meantime, people have been working to restore Mae Bachur.
Jordi Mikeli-Jones, who was president until 2011, has already secured at least one significant donation. The owners of Cheeky Monkey Daycare in Riverdale have decided to give $10,000 to the society.
Mikeli-Jones was “blown away” by the gift, she said. It will come regardless of who is president, she said. She’s also started a Facebook campaign to let people know about the need to donate.
Mikeli-Jones has other ideas for fundraising too, like having companies sponsor kennels at the shelter, she said.
After the Supreme Court ordered new elections, Mikeli-Jones said she had no plans to seek the president’s spot. But if someone nominates her, she will let her name stand, she said Thursday morning before the meeting.
If she’s not on the board, Mikeli-Jones still plans to be involved. She’s already given information to potential board members, she said.
For her, it’s all about helping animals. “I don’t care about egos. I don’t care about politics,” she said.
But the board politics could hinder some people from giving, said Chris May, owner of Mid Arctic Technology Services. In November, he started gathering people not associated with the shelter who could help re-start it if it closed.
Ideally, the new board should be made of people with no personal opinion of the previous board members, he said. The legal battles and negative publicity that have surrounded the society for the last year have made people lose their confidence in the organization, he said. A new board is the only way the public can trust it again, he said.
May plans to become a member and then using his connections in the business community to increase the number of donors for the society.
His involvement with the shelter has been minimal since he moved to Whitehorse nearly seven years ago, he said. “I don’t know a single person there,” said May.
May has served on boards of humane societies in Ontario. Disagreements do happen, and competing groups form. But it usually doesn’t get this bad, he said.
“Boards fight and bicker,” said May. “But they usually try to conserve the core operation and purpose.”
Once the society submits all the proper paperwork, including financial statements approved by the members, to the government, it can receive funding, said Mac Hislop, a spokesperson with Community Services. The government is holding back nearly $40,000 until it receives this information. Then they “will release it as quick as they can,” he said.