HONOLULU (KHON2) - Animals at the Hawaiian Humane Society are being put down unnecessarily, drawing complaints from workers.
And those complaints are being ignored. That's according to protesters who rallied at the facility on Monday.
Protesters include former and current employees who say there's a toxic work environment at the humane society. and they want the board to conduct a third party investigation.
About 50 people waved signs fronting the Hawaiian Humane Society calling themselves People For Animals First. Sarah Worth says she was fired for saving hundreds of kittens which, she says were being killed only because they weighed less than a pound and a half.
"So I had a network of vetted foster families that were willing to take these kittens in, bring them up to weight, get them the treatment they needed and then bring them back to the humane society when they're ready to be adopted," said Worth.
Jana Moore worked at HHS in the fall of last year in what she thought was a dream job. She left after three months.
"If you look up the definition of toxic work environment that's basically what I saw here. There was lying, there was pitting employees against each other, there was favoritism, and basically discouraging of people sharing ideas," said Moore.
A spokeswoman says kittens under a pound and a half are not automatically euthanized. She also sent a pre-taped interview done by a public relations firm to address the allegations.
"We euthanize only severe medical or severe behavioral problems for animals. There's no space or time limits. We don't euthanize an animal because we don't have enough space," said Dr. Kasey Carter, Chief Veterinarian at HHS.
HHS also sent data saying euthanizations have gone down drastically.
In fiscal year 2009 3,337 dogs and 14,148 cats were put down, compared to 1,769 dogs and 9,084 cats in fiscal year 2018.
Protesters add that there could be even fewer animals euthanized because other organizations are willing to take in more dogs and cats.
"Hawaiian Humane Society has repeatedly said no. That's the biggest issue. There are other resources, but they don't want to use it. They don't want to work with the community, but they are a community organization. They have to work with us," said Worth.
As for the workplace concerns, the humane society's board chairman, Bob Armstrong sent a statement saying a third party will investigate and the board will conduct an organizational assessment.