Writer responds to Gallimore accusations

My name is Amy Rhoden and I am a former shelter manager of the Highland County Humane Society. On Jan. 22, 2021, a letter to the editor was printed in The Times-Gazette where Scott Gallimore proclaimed all of his good deeds that he has done for the local non-profits, one of which is the Highland County Humane Society.

As the former shelter manager, I am going to respond to those slanderous remarks made towards me personally by Mr. Gallimore.

One of the remarks made in the letter was, and I quote, “Spent two days removing a broken bathroom sink and toilet and the rest of Amy Rhoden’s ‘yard sale’ trash out of the storage shed upon her departure. Spent 4 hours waiting for Rumpke to send a second garbage truck because of the amount of garbage.”

So, the “trash” that I am accused of hoarding in the shed was donated by community members who were trying to support the annual Highland County Humane Society Yard Sale fundraiser. I was instructed to store the stuff in the shed. None of the items belonged to me and I was in no way responsible for what was brought to the shelter. I just stored it in the shed as I was told.

Mr. Gallimore also mentioned that I had lost three-fourths of the dog kennels that were used for the Rascal Unit. I didn’t lose them and using his own words, Mr. Gallimore did most of the set-up and tear-down for the Rascal Unit. So, if the kennels were missing it was no fault of mine. In fact, on several occasions when myself and another employee had to stay to the set-up after working all day at the shelter because no one else would set up for the Rascal Unit, we both brought personal kennels so that we could have enough proper sized kennels for the dogs that were going to spayed or neutered.

And, just as a side note, the person responsible for the Rascal Unit coming to the local area was arranged by a former shelter manager, not anyone who is affiliated with the Humane Society or its officers.

Another slanderous remark made my Mr. Gallimore was that I “hoarded animals at the shelter, refused to use rescues and other avenues.” Since the officers of the Humane Society never came to the shelter, they were not aware that we used several credible rescues. To name a few: Pawsavers, Barely Used Pets, Charlie’s Wish, ARF, and Kamela, who was a great resource to the shelter and networked many of the shelter animals to forever homes after I was no longer at the shelter.

Yes, Mr. Gallimore, I am guilty of having too many dogs at the shelter. But what do you do when someone says that they cannot pay to have the dog warden take those dogs and that they will just drop them somewhere? What should be done with cats and kittens that are just everywhere in the county?

I remember one day that I didn’t work. One of your associates took in over 20 cats and kittens.

Now as for those those animals that I kept in my car, perhaps you should present all the facts. You failed to mention that they were kittens that I was bottle feeding and they went everywhere with me if I was going to be gone for an extended period of time. It was for their safety to be kept away from adult cats who might be carriers of diseases that as a kitten it would not be able to fend off. At no time were they in any danger in my car.

You mentioned that a cat was that kept in a “windowless, uncooled storage shed during the summer.” You probably were not aware, because again you told only half the story, that the momma cat was extremely feral. She was not doing well being surrounded by barking dogs and people and was actually attacking her kittens. Now mind you, you forgot to mention that the shed door was open and blocked with crates and fans were blowing at all times.

I would hope that if someone associated with the Humane Society, including yourself, had a concern that a cat was being kept, and I quote: “In a windowless, uncooled storage shed during the summer,” you would be out there immediately demanding to know what was going on. I know I would.

I have done no finger-pointing and have simply spoke my opinions as to the actions of the Humane Society officers/employees concerning the care of the animals and their treatment.

In the last two years I worked there one dog was humanely euthanized by a local vet. Now in 2020, it has been stated that at least 15 animals have been euthanized, five by a local vet, and the other 10, their fate remains a mystery at this time.

I have worked in the animal industry for over 20 years and I will not have my integrity questioned by you or anyone else when it comes to the care I have always and will continue to give to the animals that I come in contact with on a daily basis. Nor will I use this paper to proclaim all my good deeds.

But if the people of Highland County are concerned about the care the animals receive and how the Humane Society, its officers and employees are conducting business, they need to get involved and start asking questions.

And one last issue I would like to address is the fact that you said, and I quote: “I became a member of its board of directors three later when there was no one else willing to do so and there weren’t enough board members to hold a meeting.”

During the time I was an employee and the time following my departure, there has never been an election to see if any of the membership wanted to help in this capacity. Instead, it was has become a club of friends and employees/volunteers of other non-profits. The positions have not been filled as required and stated in the by-laws. So maybe the time has come for a change and let others with new ideas and dedication assume the responsibilities.

It sounds like from your letter that you are a disgruntled member who really did not want to help in this capacity, but felt you had to because your associates failed to give anyone else a chance.

From working with the Humane Society I came in contact with many people who truly want to help the animals of Highland County. I know many of them have the time and resources to help the Humane Society become a great place for the animals and the people of Highland County.

Amy Rhoden