HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Several former employees and veterinary staff of the Southern Pines Animal Shelter have announced they are planning to build a new, non-profit animal shelter in Forrest County. Thursday, members of the newly-formed, Hub City Humane Society spoke to Forrest County supervisors about their plans to build a new shelter in Hattiesburg.
The announcement comes just 2 weeks after many Southern Pines Animal Shelter employees quit their jobs over what we are told was widespread dissatisfaction with recently-hired executive director Dr. Gail Foreman. Hub City Humane Society members say they're not seeking county funds, only input from supervisors.
Board president David Hogan says the county could not afford to support 2 shelters and is hoping the former employees and current management can reconcile their differences.
"The funding that the Board of Supervisors provides would not be enough to accommodate 2 facilities...so, absolutely, we would like to see these groups come back together, get back at the table and work out a plan to have one facility, maybe an improved facility," said Hogan.
"I think with the right mediator, that's certainly a possibility for us to be able to join forces and do well together," said Brenda Sumrall, DVM, president of the board of directors of the Hub City Humane Society, who was also a former board member of and veterinarian for the Southern Pines Animal Shelter.
"There's always room for conversation," said Virginia Cheatham, the board chairman for the Hub City Humane Society, who was also a former manager of the Southern Pines Animal Shelter. "I wouldn't never say never with it. I just think that it's something that the community needs, a nice, quiet, structured animal shelter and it's something that we're excited about being able to provide," Cheatham said.
The new humane society is made up of 7 founding board members and nearly a dozen steering committee members.