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Humane Society Board President Speaks Out After Last Week's Firings

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CEDAR RAPIDS Just days after firing multiple staff members, including two co-directors, the Cedar Valley Humane Society's board president speaks out.

The Cedar Valley Humane Society has been open on a limited basis for the past few days. The organization is regrouping after the recent firings.

Humane Society board members admit the past few days have been tough on everyone who works or volunteers at the shelter.

"Certainly, it's a transition period right now. But, I think people will see in the weeks and months going forward, the Cedar Valley Humane Society will continue to serve the public," board president Bernie Lettington said.

Lettington insists animals will not suffer during this transition period.

"First priority is the health and well-being of the animals in our care. We've taken care of that every day and we'll continue to do that," he said.

Long-time volunteers like Karla Champman tell a different story. "It's not just me. All of the volunteers are desperately worried about what's going to happen there," Chapman said. Chapman visited the Humane Society a few days ago. She says everyone seemed stressed out and overwhelmed. "Chaos. Complete chaos. Very, very upset people. A couple people were crying. One was on the verge of it," she said.

Lettington admits the shelter has been hectic. "I suppose, at times, especially on the weekends, it could look like chaos. But, it was organized chaos, and a lot of folks doing lots of good work," he said.

New rumors about the humane society surface almost every day. Many fear more animals will get euthanized now. Lettington says that's not true. "There's no plans to euthanize any additional animals on any other kind of basis other than what would be the responsible thing for any humane society to do," Letttington said.

It will take time to get everything back on track after losing so many veteran staff members. But the board promises the shelter will survive and keep serving the animals despite everything that has happened.

Right now, the Humane Society is trying to hire a new executive director. So far, board members have received about forty applications for the job. The group expects to hire someone within the next few months.

This weekend, you can stop by Petsmart in Cedar Rapids to adopt many of the animals that are currently under the care of the Cedar Valley Humane Society.

Watch the unedited interview with Board President Bernie Lettington:

E-mail Mark Geary at or follow him on Twitter.

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