Veterinarian Dr. Dana Coover took the heat Tuesday for the Ontario County Humane Society, which is trying to regroup in the midst of sharp criticism and upheaval in leadership.
When asked at Tuesday’s meeting of the Canandaigua City Council Environmental/Parks Committee why she was testifying — with longtime Humane Society board president and two staffers present — Coover said she was willing and felt to be the best choice to address questions, though there were a number of those she could not answer. Coover kept her cool speaking before a packed room of audience members, many critical of the humane society and a few who had to be silenced from blurting out or scoffing at her responses.
Coover came with OCHS acting director Bill Martin, acting shelter manager Dianne Faas and board president Linda Vaughn.
Since the resignations of director Bill McGuigan and shelter operations director Linda Albanese, the board is now in the process of hiring new leaders.
“This is an opportunity for a step forward and for the Humane Society — and to include some of the people in this room,” said council member Stephen Uebbing, who sat in with others on City Council. The city shares an intermunicipal agreement renewed annually with Ontario County that contracts with OCHS for countywide dog control services. The OCHS is a nonprofit, governed by a board of directors.
At issue: Concerns raised about the scope, level, and quality of services that OCHS provides as well as financial transparency.
In a round of pointed questioning, committee member Renée Sutton asked, “How do we know if you are assessing the needs of the animals in the county?”