With the Columbian “journalists” publicly scoffing at the idea of journalistic objectivity, we thought we’d plumbed the depth of Madore Derangement Syndrome. We honestly didn’t think the rhetoric dedicated to smearing one of Clark County’s elected councilors could get more absurd. We were wrong. The hacks behind the hit group Connecting Clark County seem to have accepted that as a challenge.
The latest piece of nonsense from them headlines, “Saving tax dollars by killing our furry friends? No More Madore!” (article also shown below in the event the writers take it down). This was repeated on their amateurish website. In the fashion of the recent presidential primary, this group of nitwits is exercising the tactic of saying things so breathtakingly stupid that it leaves the other side gasping and disoriented, unable to decide which ridiculous assumption to address first.
They incorrectly state that “Councilor David Madore’s solution for reducing costs was to release these lost and homeless pets out into “coyote territory” to be “kitty McNuggets” for coyotes.” This is a lie, as we will show. They went on to say, “He also suggested that the county would save costs if we simply euthanized more Humane Society rescue pets.” No, he did no such thing.
At issue is the County’s obligation to provide animal control. The normal practice for holding animals at a shelter after being picked up is 3 days for tagged animals and 5 days for untagged. Before 2013, the Southwest Washington Humane society was charging $130 per animal per day under contract to the county when brought in by Animal Control. The bid submitted in 2013 was a two-year contract that raised the fees to $170 per animal per day in 2014 and $200 in 2015. Facing this increase, the Commissioners observed that Camas/Washougal and the City of Spokane both operate their own shelters instead of contracting to the Humane Society, and began discussions to look into the feasibility of Clark County doing this. The question was whether the nonrecurring costs of such a facility could be justified by the volume of throughput from Animal Control when compared to contracting that same volume to the Humane Society. Of course, initial planning had to consider the size of the facility, which could be determined by the expected throughput from Animal Control.
When this was introduced to the board in 2013 (discussion runs from 1:04:24 to 1:24:27), David Madore observed that there was one class of animal which contributed to the numbers that might be handled differently. Feral cats are not domesticable, and are normally euthanized when brought to the Humane Society. Madore introduced the concept of Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR), which has been reported to be a successful strategy for control feral cat populations when used by other animal control agencies. This is a no-kill option that returns feral cats to their colony unable to breed. Using this strategy, Madore argued, might reduce the per-day costs of sheltering and euthanizing feral animals, lowering the number of animals paid for by the county. He noted that other no-kill shelters in Clark County already practiced this strategy. The idea was discussed at some length, and at one point Tom Mielke observed, “I know they dump a whole bunch of them in my neighborhood, and we feed coyotes with ‘em.” Madore replied, “Yeah, they become Kitty McNuggets, yeah.”
No Mielke does not retrieve abandoned cats and feed them to coyotes. This is what happens. This is happening now. People do dump unwanted domestic cats with no ability to survive in the wild in the north county area, and they do become coyote chow. This is what Mielke is saying, and Madore agrees, with some dark humor. This is not a statement of policy, and it highlights the very thing the County Councilors were trying to address. It’s incomprehensible that anyone could construe this as an plan or even consideration of something that the County Commissioners would be inclined to do. But that’s what those with Madore Derangement Syndrome would have you believe.
Madore also suggested looking into the cost effectiveness of the County hiring a vet to deal with the feral cat problem separately using the TNR strategy as a way of lowering costs paid to the Humane Society, by rerouting feral cats through a different process. It was agreed to look into these strategies.
The board convened again a week later, to discuss the issue (discussion runs from 1:18:45 to 1:44:30). Madore opened the discussion with additional information about TNR. He said that he had been told that it was initially more expensive, because it cost more to neuter a cat than to euthanize, but it stabilized the cat colony populations over a period of time when practiced. Another drawback is that when animal control is called to remove problem animals, the complainants typically don’t want the animals returned, neutered or not. This led to the rhetorical question of where do we release them, then? The obvious answer is that this is an unworkable solution, and to highlight this, the answer was “North County,” “Coyote country.” This was a humorous riff on the previous discussion, and to anyone with half a brain, it’s understood that this was a non-starter. Of course, to those with Madore Derangement Syndrome, this was taken out of context and used to show the evil perfidy of these cold-hearted conservatives who would FEED YOUR KITTIES TO THE COYOTES!
There is more to this discussion, as the Columbian’s timeline highlights. The 54% price hike by the SW Washington Humane Society (SWWHS) caused some consternation. Why was the Humane Society raising its rates so steeply? Part of the context of this was that the SWWHS had three years earlier opened a brand-new, $7.34 million, 30,000 square foot luxury facility in East Vancouver. Obviously cash flow didn’t seem to be a problem with the non-profit organization. Such non-profits should seek a public image that is humble and suggest every dollar is squeezed to achieve the mission and not go to unnecessary opulence and fat salaries. This is why entities like CharityWatch exist. Madore reasonably asked to examine the financials of the organization, and became uncomfortable with the salaries being paid to SWWHS executives, arguing that County Animal Control should be paying the actual cost of handling the animals, not subsidizing profiteering salaries for executives. This led to exploring various alternatives as mentioned above. Mielke felt that the Commissioners needed more time to gather information on affordable alternatives before committing to a two-year contract. The County paid approximately $325,000 to the Humane Society in 2013. That cost was expected to rise to half a million dollars in 2015, assuming the same volume of business. The County Commissioners, as stewards of the county treasury, were absolutely reasonable and justified in questioning this cost increase and exploring alternatives. This is what we elect our commissioners to do, not to rubber-stamp contracts when a vendor tries to hold the taxpayer up for an additional 54%.
The hysteria that Connecting Clark County tries to generate with this ridiculous distortion of the facts demonstrates how deranged the anti-Madore crowd is. They’re playing on the basest instincts of the voter – David Madore hates puppies and Kittens!— hoping you won’t be educated enough to realize how stupid these charges are. The usual crowd of delusional anti-Madore nuts lap this up like mother’s milk and spread the lie far and wide as if it was gospel.
Connecting Clark County is a Political Action Committee (PAC) funded by local businessman David Nierenberg. He’s committed $50,000 to this PAC intended to defeat David Madore in the upcoming election. You think if Nierenberg was as worried about puppies and kittens as he suggests, he could help them and lower the costs to the county by using that money to help fund SWWHS ongoing operations, instead of trying to defeat David Madore. His actions prove beyond a doubt that this isn’t about cute baby animals at all, it’s about a vicious and unprincipled attack on a public servant by a group of people for whom there is no depth to which they would not stoop to achieve their goal. Others behind this malicious and sophomoric propaganda effort are Steve Horenstein (local attorney), Jamie Howsley (local attorney and BIA advisor), Kathryn McDonald (political consultant), and Betty Sue Morris (prior Democrat politician and activist) as shown in the Public Disclosure Filing. Yes folks, these are prominent Clark County establishment figures, and they apparently have no qualms that these brazen lies be spread about a political opponent.