Protesters want answers after Humane Society of SWMI resignations

NOW: Protesters want answers after Humane Society of SWMI resignations

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -- There are calls for the president of the Humane Society of Southwest Michigan’s Board of Directors to resign after claims the shelter has developed a toxic work environment.

Saturday afternoon, a line of cars filled with protestors drove by the shelter with their windows decorated in support of the Humane Society’s former director, Jill Svoboda, who had been with the shelter for 13 years.

This week, the Board of Directors saying she, along with five other employees, left their posts without warning.

Some shelter donors who know Svoboda personally say that’s not the full story.

“This toxic Board of Directors forced Jill and her staff to leave their dream, the board needs to step down immediately so the Humane Society can heal,” said Shannon White.

A dozen cars participated in the drive-by protest demanding Board President Ron Klemm resign.

Plus, donors have a petition that's gained nearly 1,000 signatures.

They've also created a Facebook group, where the alleged resignation letter from Svoboda was posted, saying in part, “The current Board of Directors has created a hostile and unsafe working environment.”

Her supporters say Svoboda has done so much for the shelter and should be reinstated.

"To make sure the shelter didn’t struggle in the middle of the pandemic, she was able to raise $277,000 in 51 days from the community,” said White.

ABC57 did reach out to both Svoboda and the Humane Society's legal counsel for comment but has not heard back.

However, the shelter provided a written statement to Moody on the Market, which can be read here.

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