Animal programs

Broward County leaders must address animal shelter issues

Thanks to the Sun Sentinel for bringing the investigative story of the total mismanagement of the Broward County Pet Shelter to its readers. This article has shared the many concerning and unacceptable issues with our current shelter manager.

Now is the time for our County Administrator to address the performance of Broward County Animal Care Director Emily Wood. There are questions that need and deserve immediate answers: Why is Wood still employed as our shelter manager? What has she accomplished since her arrival to have her supervisor support her so completely? Can county leaders explain why they’re backing her when there’s so much data showing she’s a failure? If the formal complaint filed against Wood proves she called her assistant manager a “bull dyke,” will the county immediately terminate Wood’s employment for her abusive and demeaning treatment of a subordinate?

Under his leadership, pets are left in cruel and inhumane situations. She offers no support to residents who are desperate for help. She unilaterally decided that the Broward Police Department was doing its job and restrained and rehomed the strays. Where are all the programs and promises that Wood made during his interview process? What does she do to help our community? We deserve to know.

Wood is an extraordinary wordsmith. His responses are filled with industry buzzwords that sound good to the untrained ear, but actually have no substance. Because she is an expert at manipulating words, Wood should be required to share supporting data whenever she talks about shelter programs and operations.

Wood’s lack of desire to work with her greatest and best resource — the community — directly correlates to why she fails so miserably. She spends more time retaliating against volunteers, rescuers, and advocates than helping Broward County pets and residents.

Wood must be judged by county leaders after getting answers to these questions:

  • What metrics were used and what data was provided to support its performance assessment?
  • What programs has it created and successfully implemented? How have they helped Broward residents and pets?
  • What new community partnerships or collaborations has it created? Have its programs increased volunteerism?
  • How many new grants has she applied for and received that have helped our community?
  • Have his programs resulted in enough adoptions to help keep the shelter from reaching capacity?
  • Is the number of free and affordable sterilization surgeries available to our community increasing to meet the needs of a population of 2 million people?

Your Broward County taxes pay Wood’s salary. Residents have the right to know if she earns this salary. Broward County leaders should hold her accountable if she isn’t. If Wood isn’t doing the job she was hired to do and promised to do, it’s time she was fired and replaced with a more qualified and compassionate candidate. It is unacceptable for our pets to suffer while she is being paid $156,000 to mismanage a community resource like our pet shelter.

Meredith Bruder is the director of Pets’ Broward, a private non-profit animal rescue organization.