Four years ago a group of fifty individuals formed "Boca Animal Lovers". This group was comprised of former Board Members, former volunteers, former staff and unhappy customers of Tri County Humane Society in Boca Raton, Florida. Their mission was not to close the Shelter or bring any harm to the animals in residence. This group had firsthand negative experiences with the Director, Jeannette Christos, and wanted her removed from the position. As the Board of Directors also had knowledge of the wrongdoings of Ms. Christos, Boca Animal Lovers wanted them removed also. With 45 letters and petitions in hand they went before the City of Boca Raton (who originally ran the Shelter and is now leasing it to Tri County). The City "investigated" and found nothing illegal about the Director's activities. They did, however, recommend Management Classes for Ms. Christos, as it was obvious, even to them, that she has absolutely no "people skills".
Four years has gone by, Mrs. Christos hasn't taken any classes, and her horrible treatment of her staff, volunteers and the general public continues. The staff is coerced into lying in defense of the Ms. Christos' many indiscretions. They must tolerate her random decisions, random policies and sudden fits of rage. They are rewarded and punished through the area they are placed in and their days off. It's much easier to be a "favored" employee than an ostracized one who refuses to play the game.
The volunteers are fine as long as the never question "today's" policy or procedure. Those who do not agree with Ms. Christos or speak their minds are forever banished from the property. Volunteers consistently receive e-mails pleading for canned cat and dog food. This is not due to an emergency situation, rather that Ms. Christos, after nine years of running an animal shelter, still does not have canned food in the budget. At Ms. Christos' direction, this canned food is given to small dogs twice a day, all large dogs once a day, and all sick dogs and cats as much as necessary. Her decision – shouldn't it be in her budget?
The unsuspecting public is Ms. Christos' greatest pawns on her imaginary chessboard. When you come in to adopt an animal, you must first fill out an application. Your application is taken into Ms. Christos' office where it is "faxed to the committee for approval". Either the front desk woman will come out and tell you that "your approved" or that the committee is backed up with applications and they will not know for 24-48 hours. When you call back the next day, you are told that your application was not approved. If you ask why you are told "the committee doesn't give us a reason". First of all, there is not, nor has their ever been an approval committee. Applications are randomly approved or disapproved by Ms. Christos. If you are told that your "application has been faxed" it generally means that she didn't like you (or the picture on your license, your neighborhood, your number of children, etc.), but to avoid a problem in the lobby and get you to leave, you're told to call back the next day. Obviously, there are some valid reasons for being denied to adopt an animal, but race, age, ethnic background, etc. should not be those reasons. If you've never owned a dog or cat before, you many be approved for an "adult". Yes, you are not trusted to raise a puppy or kitten, but you are somehow able to deal with an adult animal and whatever problems they have grown up with. If you have children under the age of 10, you will not be able to adopt a young puppy or kitten for your children to grow up with. You many be approved for an adult dog or cat who, once again, may or may not have issues. As a parent, I find it very insulting to be competent enough to raise a child, but not able to care for a puppy or kitten. Over a hundred applications are filled out at Tri County weekly and only about 25 animals actually get to go home. Very sad for them since the application approval is based solely on the whims, biases and mood of Ms. Christos. If things don't workout at home with your new pet, you are severely frowned upon when you return the pet to the shelter. Perhaps if Ms. Christos would allow full disclosure to the adopter as to where the animal came from and what issues it has, the return rate would substantially decline. When an individual turns an animal into the Shelter, that person fills out a form stating any medical or behavioral issues as well as the animals likes and dislikes. On Ms. Christos orders, this paperwork is not allowed to be shared with the new adopter, so an unsuspecting adopter has no idea what they are getting into. Most of the animals at the Shelter come from kill facilities or other rescues. Exactly what facility or even what state or county your animals come from is also not permitted to be disclosed.
If you have donated to Tri County Humane Society in the past, thank you. As a private humane society, Tri County's animals depend solely on donations to survive. If you've given goods and materials, it's hard to say where they've ended up – a favored employee's house or the director's home? Tri County is consistently on the news with heart wrenching stories designed to pull at your heartstrings (and your wallet). Yes, some of the animals do come to Tri County in horrible condition, but where that animal came from is generally fabricated – how many animals can be left outside the gate in "soaking wet boxes"? A figure is generally given for the cost of the "surgery" or "rehabilitation". The phone lines are jammed with donors calling to help these poor animals. Each time these animals are on the news, several people think they have paid for the entire surgery. Once the stated dollar figure is reached, credit card numbers continue to be taken; once again, these donors feel they are playing an important role in getting a poor animal much needed treatment, when, in actuality, the surgery has already been paid for several times over.
If you were "lucky" enough to be able to adopt from Tri County, hopefully, the animal was relatively healthy. Any animal coming from a shelter situation has some health risks. At Tri County, animals come in from different counties, states and rescues. Due to limited space, these animals cannot be properly quarantined. Permanent residents as well as the other animals are constantly exposed to parvo, distemper, a variety of upper respiratory infections and infectious skin diseases. In an effort to save more and more animals, Ms. Christos has become a hoarder of animals. Even if another rescue group is willing to take some of these animals, she wants Tri County to have all of them, whether the space is available or not. Quarantining is the only fair thing to do for the health of the animals and for the sake of the adoptive parents who can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on vet bills to treat these sick animals (not to mention the heartbreak of seeing your new animal decline) simply because Ms. Christos takes in more animals than the shelter can safely accommodate.
The people who are willing to adopt these homeless animals, the volunteers who are willing to donate their time, the employees who have quite a "dirty" job yet are willing to work for just above minimum wage due to their love of the animals, and the people who donate their hard earned money to support these animals ALL deserve to be treated in a moral and ethical manner. This will not happen as long as Ms. Christos continues her dictatorship of Tri County Humane Society. Although any rescue is doing a good deed by adopting out dogs and cats, the rescue still needs to be held legally and morally accountable.
Don't just take my word about the Director of Tri County – mention Tri County at a dog park, your vets office, or a social function and someone there will have a bad history with Ms. Christos. I find it embarrassing that the animal shelter, which is associated with such a prestigious city as Boca Raton, is allowed to stay under the direct of Ms. Christos. Boca Raton should have one of the best shelters in the State with an excellent reputation that the citizens can be proud of.
Just because Ms. Christos "saves thousands" of animals is not enough to qualify her to operate a shelter. Since she is running a business with the intent of saving animals, she believes she can do anything, whether it's legally, ethically or morally correct, as long as it's done on behalf of the animals. She has proven time and time again that she cannot effectively deal with people, budget properly or know that there are constraints to how many animals can be safely housed and cared for at the shelter. When Ms. Christos first began rescuing dogs, her intention was good, but she only had to cope with a handful of animals, a few volunteers and employees and limited income. The Shelter now has over 400 animals (approximately 200 permanent residents due to medical or behavioral issues), 35 employees and 100 signed-up volunteers. According to charitynavigator.org, Tri County's revenue in 2007 was $1,994,449.00 yet there is not enough money to budget for canned food, garbage bags or needed cleaning supplies.
Let me close with a question to the City of Boca Raton, the Board of Director of Tri County Humane Society and the citizens of the Tri County area: 50 respected individuals filed complaints against this one woman – how many complaints will it take to actually remove her from her position? 75? 100? Give us something to shoot for – we will achieve it!!!
Review about: Tri County Humane Society Florida Pet Adoption.