Patty Finch, Executive Director of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) states, “The support The Wildcat Sanctuary is receiving from other sanctuaries around country is a testimony to the high esteem in which both TWS and Tammy Thies are held. Big cat sanctuaries around the US have seen Tammy Thies give generously of her time to help cats in need, like those at the failed Wild Animal Orphanage, where she was one of two people chosen by the USDA to head up relocation efforts for 327 animals. Ms. Thies also serves as a volunteer site inspector for the American Sanctuary Association, highly valued for her fairness. Other directors and board leaders also have immense respect for Ms. Thies’ expertise, which she recently shared as a speaker at a national big cat conference, at the request and invitation of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and GFAS. One topic she addressed was fundraising, because IFAW and GFAS have always been impressed with the high ethical standards Ms. Thies has put into place in her campaigns. If a practice is common, legal, but of questionable ethics, Ms. Thies won’t do it. That’s why she was chosen as a speaker and mentor on the topic.”
A letter to the TWS board of directors in June states:
We have been notified of the general current happenings at the Wildcat Sanctuary, as required by our accreditation policies.
The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries is an independent party, with loyalty only to the welfare of the overall organization and the animals.
In the nonprofit world, it is unfortunately fairly common for a staff member or members, or volunteers, to go to a Board with a serious grievance, demands for change, and ultimatums. It seems especially common in the sanctuary and pseudo-sanctuary world…
…GFAS is also aware of several animal sanctuaries in which the entire staff and /or volunteers had to be let go. In these cases, the Board realized that there were NOT huge problems at the sanctuary (such as cruelty to animals, fiscal mismanagement, years of negative Board reviews given to the ED, donors leaving in droves, accreditations, licenses or permits pulled, etc.) OTHER THAN those being caused or claimed by the staff. Often in such as case it is good to bring in an outside consultant to determine if a key employee or group of employees/volunteers is actually the problem. Sometimes a part of the problem is also lack of Board support for an ED to fire the problem employees, even though staffing decisions, with rare exceptions, should be the purview of the ED.
In the cases of entire staff dismissal, the transition to new employees was quick and smooth. Those three sanctuaries are flourishing…
…I have never met Tammy Thies, but she is well-respected in the field. Gail A’Brunzo, who makes the grant decisions for big cats for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, wrote to me when we were considering speakers for an upcoming workshop on big cats, stating: “We believe that Tammy Thies’ contribution to the sanctuary field is invaluable and the topics she could present will be of great benefit to other U.S. wildlife sanctuaries that care for big cats.” That is high praise from Gail, who has been working directly with big cat facilities more than twice as long as I have, and has had the opportunity to visit the “best of the best”.
I do know that when I’ve had the opportunity to work on rescues with Tammy Thies, via the phone, she has been professional and shown true leadership.
I urge you to put time and resources into the decision you are making. A sudden change in leadership and policies is almost certain to cause a loss of donors, and often the loss of foundation support…
ED, Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries