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Former volunteers, animal activists start petition against North Pole animal rescue

Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 4:29 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - A petition started by animal activists and former volunteers is seeking to regulate non-profit animal rescues in the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB), like Loving Companions animal rescue.

The petition was started in response to criticisms from community members and former volunteers of Loving Companions. Loving Companions is a no kill animal rescue that seeks to give community members an alternative to the Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Control.

Director and Founder of Loving Companions Donna Buck-Davis said, “I wanted to give them an alternative. I used to volunteer at animal control years ago, and so I see what’s behind the doors that they won’t let the public see. I said there needed to be an alternative, and that’s why I started this shelter,”

Accusations of poor practices such as poor hygiene in animal pens, mixing feral and non-feral animals, and selling sick animals have been levied against the rescue by former volunteers and customers.

Former volunteer Megan Quan commented, “I see the animals suffering. There’s something wrong and it just seems, like you know... you see a good healthy, or what seems to be a good healthy animal come in, and then you go revisit in a week or two weeks over a month period and you see that animal just declined and it looks nothing like it used too.

Other former volunteers, like Teri Key, have also criticized the shelter for not listening to new ideas or criticism. “Volunteering there, and seeing her doing something that is unethical, and telling her that you don’t agree with that... she’ll basically tell you that she’s been doing this a long time and she doesn’t want to hear it.”

Loving Companions also offers to board animals, but there have been those who have used that service with Loving Companions who report having negative experiences.

Tiffany Alm and her family had to board her mother’s two cats Foogie and Princess with the rescue after her mother had suffered a stroke.

Teri Key had discovered Foogie had developed an injury while at Loving Companions. Key said, “I was in the cat house, taking care of the cats, like feeding them and scooping the cat boxes and all that stuff. One of the cats that was boarded there named Foogie, he had been there since I first started. He had been a perfectly healthy cat and kind of deteriorated through the time. His ears were kind of starting to turn down, and I took a video... and I lifted it up and he had like a big, hematoma I guess - like an ear injury.”

Quan offered to take the cat to the vet to be treated. “I asked the owner if I could take the cat to the vet, which she said yes as long as I didn’t mention it was from Loving Companions. I had told her I was going to do a fundraiser to raise the money to treat his ear, and she let me take the kitty. I got to Mt. McKinley [Animal Hospital] and I handed the cat over. They asked me if it was mine and I said ‘no’ because I often go to Mt. McKinley, so they know my cats. Then they asked who the cat belonged to, and I said I found it because I knew if I said Loving Companions that I would never be allowed to go back there [Loving Companions].”

Mt. McKinley Animal Hospital turned Foogie over to animal control per their policy with stray animals.

Tiffany Alm recalled, “The animal shelter had told me that the cat was dropped off as a stray, and so they assessed it to see if it needed emergency medical help that second. It did not, so it did end up at the shelter. They told me he had a hematoma in his ear that was really bad. I finally got to see pictures and my heart broke. The ear was splitting open, it was that bad - and he had severe ear mites also, which they believe caused the hematoma. I’m just trying to figure out what led it to be that bad. If the cats were being properly taken care of, it would’ve never gotten that bad.”

The cat received surgery at the Borough Animal Shelter for his ear. Alm said, “At the Animal Shelter, I gave them permission to right away fix the ear on Foogie, which required them actually, from what they told me... they had to slice open the ear and basically peel it apart and reattach it back together. His ear will never stand up normally again, it will always be floppy.”

Davis denies the accusations and claims the cat arrived at Loving Companions with the ear mites. She also stated her own account of the events saying, “Megan Quan took the cat from our shelter under false pretenses, and then lied to Mt. McKinley about the status. The cat belonged to somebody and was only being boarded, and so she took the cat under the pretense she was just going to take it to her vet because my vet doesn’t work on the weekends. But instead she went to Mt. McKinley and told them it was a lost cat, which meant they automatically called Animal Control because it was a lost animal - which meant the woman would have lost her cat because animal control has possession of it. So yes, I get very upset that she lied to people and almost caused a lot of problems for the owner.”

This is only one of many stories that have come to light. Others have been shared on social media platforms such as Facebook, and in reviews of the rescue on Google. The petition seeks to expand Title 22, which regulates the FNSB Animal Shelter, and have it apply to non-profits as well. The petition currently stands at just under 6,400 of its 7,500 signature goal.

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