Hawaiian Humane Society Boss Quits After Euthanasia Protests

Mar 26, 2019

Hawaiian Humane Society
Credit Mcampany / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The head of the Hawaiian Humane Society has stepped down amid criticism of her leadership and handling of the organization's euthanasia policies.

President and CEO Lisa Fowler relinquished her post immediately for "personal reasons" after leading the animal protection agency on Oahu since late 2017, the Humane Society said in a statement Monday. She will stay on the payroll until April 30 to help the transition to new leadership.

Activists who protested outside the society's Honolulu headquarters in February singled out Fowler while claiming the society kills animals that are healthy or suffering from easily treatable conditions, violates standard safety procedures and labor practices and has created a hostile work environment.

"Some people have resigned because they can't stand the way the animals were being treated," said Cathy Goeggel of the Animal Rights Hawaii group.

Hawaiian Humane Society Board Chairman Bob Armstrong will take over for Fowler as interim CEO. Armstrong said in a letter to supporters that a national search will be conducted for Fowler's replacement.

"Several board members will also be stepping in to offer support and guidance in key areas of our operations during the transition period," Armstrong said.

Armstrong said in a statement that the nonprofit has launched a third-party investigation to ensure that its euthanasia policies follow best practices.

"No evidence of wrongdoing has been identified despite recent criticism leveled at the organization," Armstrong said.