Group protests firings of KHS employees

Approximately 17 people stood before the entrance of the Kauai Humane Society this morning, protesting the firings of two employees and calling for the removal of KHS Executive Director Penny Cistaro.

Former KHS Field Service Manager Mana Brown and former Customer Services Manager Brandy Varvel were fired Monday evening and joined protesters along Kaumualii Highway from 7:30 to 9 a.m.

“We wanted the community to really get involved,” Brown said. “We wanted to let everybody know that what’s going on here is not right. There’s a lot of problems with KHS and we hope that it gets resolved.”

Brown said the terms of his release indicated that “Hawaii is an at-will state for employment and employees can therefore be fired for any number of reasons.”

“I’m upset and I’m saddened by it,” Brown said. “I’ve worked here for over five years, and I’ve dedicated a good portion of my career to animal cause.”

Varvel declined to comment.

Cistaro, who has been the executive director of KHS for two and a half years, declined to say why she fired the employees.

“Whatever’s been going on in the past few weeks, we’re going to keep moving forward,” Cistaro said. “This is not going to stop us from doing what we need to do to take care of animals.”

The group also protested the 68 percent euthanasia rate of animals at the shelter.

TGI reporter Alden Alayvilla contributed to this report.

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