CAA volunteers dismissed from animal shelter

Published: May. 17, 2012 at 9:55 PM CDT|Updated: May. 22, 2012 at 8:31 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Some volunteers at the Companion Animal Alliance were dismissed.

They claim the new shelter director got rid of them because they were letting people know what was happening behind closed doors.

One volunteer claims the animals are in danger, and that the staff is not giving them a chance to find new homes.

There is no question Christine Grenat loves animals. The former CAA volunteer said she got involved after going to the shelter to look for her missing cat. Grenat said as a volunteer she noticed what she referred to as an unsanitary environment.

"I'd find dry water bowls, empty food bowls, bowls with mold on them and some cages with no litter boxes," Grenat said.

Grenat said she and other volunteers formed an initiative called "Love a Stray" to help stray cats get adopted, but she said managers at the shelter were against it.

"I got bullied for asking for help for the stray cat room. I couldn't believe it, Grenat said.

Grenat was also behind the CAA's Facebook page "Last Minute Hope" which featured animals that, if not adopted, would be euthanized. Then interim director at the time, Debbie Pearson said the effort helped save lives.

On Wednesday, the page suddenly disappeared. Grenat said it happened shortly after she got an email from CAA Volunteer Coordinator, Cathy Coates, banning her from the facility.

The letter states, "The Director, Kim Sherlaw, has made her feelings about volunteer behavior clear. You should no longer come to the shelter or volunteer on behalf of CAA."

Sherlaw would not get into the specifics of why she let the volunteers go, but the shelter director said she was not aware of their concerns.

"That would be the first time we have heard those accusations, actually," Sherlaw said, but she admitted the shelter is far from where she would like it to be.

"Our staff is caring for these animals and giving them adequate shelter and food but it's not the best environment we want to improve on that," Sherlaw said.

She said the plan is to get injured dogs foster homes, and to get long-timers into permanent loving homes.

Sherlaw says Friday the CAA plans to launch a new Facebook page called "Homeward Bound" which will feature dogs that have been in the shelter for six months or longer.

Grenat and other volunteers are planning a rally at the CAA on Monday, from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m.

Copyright 2012 WAFB. All rights reserved.