Valley Voices: Humane Society eviction wasn’t right |

Valley Voices: Humane Society eviction wasn’t right

Donna Spinelli, Eagle

There are some facts about the Eagle Valley Humane Society eviction from the Eagle County Animal Shelter that need to be brought to light.

Soon after the eviction, I wrote to all three county commissioners protesting the action. Arn Menconi did not bother to respond. Peter Runyon and Sara Fisher both wrote to me to say that relations had been strained between the animal shelter and the humane society, and that the last straw was the filing of an animal cruelty complaint by Humane Society Director Char Quinn against the animal shelter director, Dr. Natalie Duck.

I obtained a copy of the district attorney’s report, which very clearly states that the complaint was made by a veterinarian to Char Quinn, and that the complaint was not made against Dr. Duck personally, but against the animal control officer who brought the dog into the shelter. Char Quinn has a legal obligation to process the complaint in her position as animal cruelty officer. A legal obligation. She was obligated to process the complaint, but recused herself from participating in the investigation. This is in black and white in the D.A.’s report.

The commissioners admitted to me that they had allowed the county staff to make this decision, and that they personally had not reviewed the D.A.’s report or the investigation. I asked them to review the report. I followed up with a letter to Sara Fisher and Peter Runyon asking what the results of their review of the D.A.’s report were. Sara responded that she disagreed with my interpretation of the report, and that she supported the decision to evict the Humane Society from the Animal Shelter. Peter did not respond. I asked Sara if she denied that the complaint had been made by a veterinarian, and that Char Quinn had a legal obligation to process the complaint. Sara did not respond to that e-mail.

Clearly the commissioners just think this whole nasty incident will just go away. It will not just go away. An injustice has occurred, and I ask the readers of the Vail Daily to continue to place pressure on the commissioners to right this wrong. The commissioners did not investigate the facts of the incident, they acted on incorrect information, and the animals are now suffering.

The D.A.’s report can be seen online at the Web site at

Read it for yourself and decide whether the commissioners made the right decision.

Dr. Natalie Duck wrote a letter to the Vail Daily, in which there were more inaccuracies. Although the Humane Society and the Animal Shelter are separate entities, the Humane Society contributed quite a bit to the welfare of the animals at the shelter ” $12,000 to $15,000 per year for medical care, including dental care.

The Humane Society ran the inmate work program at the shelter, in which inmates worked with the animals to help them get exercise and socialization. The Humane Society also ran a dog training program at the shelter. These programs are gone.

The Humane Society was actively involved in the building of the shelter. They helped hire the architect, hire and approve the contractor, which resulted in the project coming in on budget. They spent money improving the cat cages. Although the commissioners state that the relationship between the Humane Society and the animal shelter was strained, the truth of the matter is it was not strained until Dr. Natalie Duck arrived. In fact, Char Quinn ran the animal shelter for the county for four months prior to Dr. Duck’s arriving.

The commissioners and Dr. Duck would like to just let this travesty slide into oblivion as other issues overtake it. Don’t let them do it. The animals are suffering as a result of this poorly investigated and executed eviction. Keep the pressure on. And please contribute money, foster homes, or volunteer time to the Humane Society to help them get through this. Phone: 970-328-7387. Cell: 970-280-5738. E-mail: U.S. Mail: Eagle Valley Humane Society, Box 4105, Eagle, CO 81631. Web site:

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