Dismayed and baffled by handling of Hoe’s case

Like many people formerly involved with the Kaua’i Humane Society, I haven’t said much about Sherry Hoe’s firing. None of us wanted to do anything that might further harm the animals. But the Board’s recent letter, in which they termed their actions courageous, cannot go unanswered.

The Board’s letter contained many inaccuracies, but I will not attempt here to set the record straight. Rather, I am writing to express my deep dismay at how badly the whole thing was handled. I have been utterly baffled as to why the Board chose a course that would ultimately prove to be incredibly humiliating for Sherry and her family and needlessly disruptive to the Humane Society.

Since Sherry had no contract, it is the Board’s right to fire her for any reason, or even no reason at all. But come on! This is a woman who devoted 11 years of her life to the animals and the Humane Society. Would it have killed the Board to let her resign if accountability and credibility were truly the issues at stake? Or to make a public statement thanking her for the years of service and saying there had been NO financial wrong-doing? Couldn’t they have helped shield her from the inevitable gossip and rumor mongering? Or let her continue on in some capacity so she could achieve her life’s dream of untying the maile at the new shelter? When the Board asked if I wanted to keep writing grants, I reflected upon the vote that had been taken by Laura Wiley, Trudy Senda, Steve and Kathy Kyono, Paul Douglass, Rich Jasper, Ricko Taniguchi and Ed and Betty Unanian. And I thought, if they could behave so shabbily toward a woman who gave her heart and soul to the organization, what might they do to a peon like me? Of course I resigned, as did three others. Since then, the Board has purged two of its members who spoke up for Sherry.

So when I read in the Board’s letter that they remain committed to ensuring compassionate, respectful treatment for all of Kaua’i’s animals, I had to laugh. It was either that, or cry.

Joan Conrow, Kilauea

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