CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Carthage Humane Society remains open despite the absence of key personnel including the shelter director, veterinarian on record and the medical adviser.
The resignations of the shelter’s veterinarian, Heather Steinbach, and the medical adviser, Rachel Bell, comes shortly after the departure of director Deborah Bell, who was fired by the Carthage Humane Society board in a 6-3 vote last week. Globe efforts to reach Steinbach and Rachel Bell for comment were unsuccessful.
The shelter was temporarily closed to the public temporarily in the wake of Deborah Bell's firing April 27, but it reopened to the public earlier this week.
Sami Jo Freeman, spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Agriculture, said in an emailed statement to the Globe that operations regulated by the Animal Care Facilities Act must have an attending veterinarian.
“Veterinarians work with staff at a facility to create and implement their plan for animal care,” Freeman said. “We’ve notified the facility that their veterinarian has withdrawn and are working with them to ensure that their Program of Veterinary Care is updated with a new accredited veterinarian.”
Deborah Bell said last week that she had not been given a specific reason for her dismissal, but she did note that she and Johnathan Roberts, the board president, had clashed in the past.
Roberts said on Thursday that board members have been volunteering to help fill the void and that a majority of the shelter employees have been working additional hours until the hiring committee decides the next course of action.
“I am not on the hiring committee and am not sure when they plan to meet, but it will be before our next board meeting scheduled for May 16,” Roberts said in an emailed statement to the Globe.
“We can’t control the actions of our past employees, but we can move forward with the strong team we have in place and find people to help us fill in the gaps,” he said.
In the fall of 2017, the Carthage Humane Society lost both its director and veterinarian, who resigned after reports of underfed animals and incomplete records at the shelter.
Bell was hired shortly after and has been credited by volunteers for helping to improve the facility, which has new floors, a new meet and greet room, and taller fences for dogs.