New president, same problems for Humane Society Yukon

The Humane Society Yukon has yet another new president. Seann Springford resigned from the position on Feb. 25, less than three months after being elected to the role.

The Humane Society Yukon has yet another new president.

Seann Springford resigned from the position on Feb. 25, less than three months after being elected to the role. He made the decision for personal reasons, he said in an interview Thursday afternoon. Hoby Irwin, former vice-president, is the new president.

“I was very surprised and very disappointed. I thought he was the right personality for the job,” said Irwin. “I was appreciating the direction he was taking the humane society and the shelter, but sometimes these things just don’t work out.”

The new direction was sorely needed.

Springford became president shortly before Christmas, at a Yukon Supreme Court-ordered annual general meeting. The society, which runs the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter, was in gross disrepair. A government investigation revealed the current board had broken the law by illegally denying membership requests or renewals.

The government ordered the society to hold a special meeting to elect a new board and have members review financial statements. It refused, and only held the meeting after the court order.

The society was bleeding cash, prompting concerns that the shelter would have to close. But the new year brought some relief. In late January, the territorial government released nearly $40,000 in withheld funding. This came a few weeks after Cheeky Monkey Daycare in Riverdale donated $10,000 to the society.

But the society was never on sure financial footing, said Springford. And it’s not out of the woods yet, either.

The society is still not in good standing with the territorial government. It won’t be until it receives all of its interim financial statements from its accountants in Ottawa, said Irwin.

“We’re running on fumes at this point,” said Irwin. Because the society isn’t in good standing, it can’t apply for a bingo licence. Money from Bingo “powered” the day-to-day expenses at the shelter, said Irwin.

As of Thursday afternoon, there are 19 animals at the shelter, said manager Amanda Ferrell. But the society is just scraping by to pay staff. At this rate, it may only be able to stay open for about two more months, she said.

So it’s asking the public to step up. Tax receipts can be issued for donations over $20. People can also bring their Canadian Tire money and receipts from Extra Foods to the shelter.

In an interview Thursday, Springford declined to provide more details about why he resigned, except to say it was for personal reasons. The society is run by a good board, he said. There isn’t in-fighting, a problem that appeared to have contributed to the last board’s problems.

Under the past board the books were poorly kept, said Irwin. “As things got worse with the society, the record keeping got worse,” he said.

“I don’t think the new board realized when we started what bad shape the society was in, and what poor shape the record-keeping had been in,” said Irwin. The board had many outstanding debts, including to its Ottawa-based accountants, he said. Because of this, the accountants were hesitant to do work for the society.

Without the accountants’ approval of financial statements, the society couldn’t get into good standing. Springford had to negotiate a deal before the accountants would look at the society’s books, said Irwin.

“We’re just caught in this vicious circle here,” he said.

Board members are working hard to straighten it out, but it’s been tough. “We don’t have enough financial information to tell how badly screwed we are,” he said.

It’s not uncommon for volunteers to have to resign from boards, said Irwin. It’s something the current board will just have to work through.

And more changes may be coming. Irwin doesn’t plan on being president forever, he said. Once all the financials are received, the society will hold a special meeting, said Irwin. At that meeting, he hopes a new president will be elected, he said.

Contact Meagan Gillmore at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3-hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council will vote on the second reading of the Official Community Plan amendment on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Future area of Whistle Bend considered by council

Members set to vote on second reading for OCP change

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision


Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read