Image: January 3, 2019, social media announcement that anyone who adopted an animal from the Montgomery County Animal Shelter could attend free animal behavior training classes with renowned animal behavior expert Mallory Robinson. The Montgomery County Animal Shelter removed the announcement of the free classes from the Animal Shelter’s social media page, claiming that encouragement of people who adopted from the Shelter contradicted the Shelter’s Mission Statement, even though Robinson has taught animal behavior classes to the Animal Shelter’s employees at the Animal Shelter.
Conroe, January 8 – Soviet leader Josef Stalin utilized police repression to eliminate the ability of opposition elements to express themselves. The Montgomery County Animal Shelter under Director Aaron Johnson and his management team, including Foster Coordinator Courtney Gawel, have begun to utilize many of the same tactics.
Not only do they have Troy Ita, the husband of the Volunteer Coordinator, working to intimidate uncooperative animal supporters who dare criticize Shelter policy and operations, but now they’ve begun a full-scale war against the Behavior Department, which provided services free-of-charge to try to improve animal behavior to make the animals more adoptable. Please see “Animal Shelter Fails To Address Volunteer Coordinator’s Husbands Temper Problem, Allows Incident To Occur Without Resolution,” The Golden Hammer, December 29, 2018.
Johnson and Gawel don’t like the volunteer efforts of Animal Shelter Advisory Board member Robbie Benson, who is one of the leading animal shelter operation experts in the United States who just happens to live in this community. Benson has urged Johnson to employ animal behavior improvement methods to make Shelter animals more adoptable, so the Shelter’s live release rate may improve.
Benson has done all her work for free at no charge to the Shelter or to Montgomery County taxpayers who are paying out millions of dollars for Johnson to operate an Animal Shelter which lies to the public about its live animal release rates by intentionally leaving out from the statistics enormous numbers of animals that Johnson and his team have euthanized. The problem Johnson has with Benson is that Benson has dared to express her opinion about Johnson’s poor management methods and has questioned why Johnson chased away renowned senior veterinarian Jordan Gentry, D.V.M., who was highly-respected and popular among volunteers and local animal experts.
Benson, volunteer Lynn O’Sullivan, and others have provided enormous time and energy to provide behavior training for the animals. They’ve also brought in an animal behavior expert by the name of Mallory Robinson.
Robinson has provided free classes to several employees of the Montgomery County Animal Shelter to teach them how to improve the behavior of animals to make them more adoptable. Robinson is an official Shelter Behavior Affiliate designated by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, an American Kennel Club Instructor and Evaluator, and a Professional Guild Member of the Associate of Force Free Pet Professionals.
Most importantly, Robinson, whose primary animal specialties are dogs and horses, has offered free training sessions for all dogs fostered or adopted through the Montgomery County Animal Shelter. As Benson has explained, “Mallory wanted to help to encourage people to foster or adopt by offering this wonderful free service. There is no one better at animal behavioral training than Mallory Robinson.”
On January 3, 2019, Robinson announced the “Free Training Sessions” on the MCASaves! social media (Facebook) site of the Animal Shelter. Robinson explained, “As a token of gratitude, this is a friendly reminder that all fosters and adopters are applicable for a free training session in thanks for their support of animal welfare in Montgomery county.”
Gawel and Johnson reacted immediately, and the reaction wasn’t very nice. In less than ten minutes after Robinson posted the free training sessions offer, Gawel violated federal civil rights laws, which protect free speech at a government-operated social media site, by removing Robinson’s encouraging post. Gawel’s explanation was nothing short of bizarre:
“Welcome to the the MCASaves page! Please note: this page is not for offering, or soliciting your services. This is a page where we can highlight animals in our shelter, thank rescues, foster homes, volunteers, and adopters! Shelter events and Volunteer opportunities will also be shared here.
“There are so many positive aspects about MCAS and that is the main purpose of this page. Please refrain from any comments that detract from our mission and our shelter! (Those animals that are in URGENT need of getting out of the shelter will still be highlighted on our MCAS Pets In Need Page.
“If you would like to foster or tag an animal for rescue, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the fastest and most efficient way to get information – asking questions on the FB posts may not be seen in a timely manner. Adoptions must be done in person and are first come- first served.
The Animal Shelter’s decision to block free animal behavior training stunned Benson and Robinson. Benson explained, “I believe this has more to do with the fact that Mallory was connected with us…..Behavior…..run by me who is a definite thorn in her side – only because Lynn [O’Sullivan] and I ask questions and have expectations that they actually DO follow their stated (on the website) mission – for God sakes!”
Gawel didn’t respond to a number of questions The Golden Hammer submitted to her in writing about the subject of this article.
A number of volunteers have objected to Gawel’s aggressive decisions to euthanize dogs in the Animal Shelter’s care. Whenever any criticism shows up on the Animal Shelter’s Facebook page, however, Gawel removes it immediately.
Apparently, as Foster Coordinator for the animals (and taxpayers) of Montgomery County, Gawel spends essentially all of her time trampling upon the free speech of Montgomery County citizens who are suggest any different approaches to help the homeless animals of the Shelter.