Healdsburg Animal Shelter: 'Organization is Sound; Building is Bit of a Mess'

Bill Anderson, HAS board co-chair, to give progress report at public forum 5 p.m. Thursday.


r is "not an organization in crisis," but it does have a big bugaboo to deal with -- its new $3.5 million building, uninhabitable and beleaguered with construction defects, board Co-Chair Bill Anderson said Monday.

"We're not an organization in crisis," Anderson said. "Our organization is sound; the building is a bit of a mess."

said he will release a list of new HAS advisory board members -- and their bios -- within a day or two.

Further discussion on the advisory board -- as well as a progress report on the building and other issues -- will be offered at the next HAS public forum at 5 p.m. Thursday at the new shelter building on Westside Drive, he said.

Meanwhile, Anderson said HAS has hired a "blue chip" legal firm in San Francisco to help recover damages for a cracked slab flooring in the new $3.5 million shelter. He has estimated replacement costs for the flooring at about $300,000 -- but Anderson said he doesn't expect that to come from the community.

"Our goal is to collect the entire amount in damages," he said. "If it isn't resolved in mediation, we're willing to go to court. We're willing to do whatever it takes."

As part of the legal process, the board and the legal team are working on a historical timeline of all the decisions that were made -- and money spent --

"At first, I thought we Anderson said. "But after l [at the April 16 City Council meeting] I agree that we can't move forward until we understand the past."

Anderson said the

"We have a general contractor who went bankrupt right in the middle of the process," he said. "There has to be an understanding of what went wrong."

In addition, the legal team will be looking at how the shelter came to hire Sean Rodrigues, who was not a licensed architect, to design the new building. Rodrigues, who sources say has left the country, was cited last year by the California State Architecture Board for misrepresenting himself to Healdsburg Animal Shelter officials as an architect.

"I still can't wrap my head around how that could have happened," Anderson said Monday. "It's clearly shocking."

According to the architecture board's website:

"The Board issued a one-count administrative citation that included a $2,000 civil penalty to Sean D. Rodrigues, an unlicensed individual, for an alleged violation of BPC section 5536(a) (Practice Without License or Holding Self Out As Architect). The action alleged that Rodrigues offered to provide professional architecture and design services for the new Healdsburg Animal Shelter located in Healdsburg, California. This building type is not exempt since it does not satisfy the definitions for exempt building types in BPC section 5537(a). The citation became final on August 29, 2011.

Anderson said he hoped the historical timeline produced by the legal team and a certified public accountant working with HAS will bring clarity to the shelter and to the community."

"I'm pleased that we'll be getting a third-party view of this whole fiduciary process," Anderson said. "It's good to get a third-party perspective."

In the wake of a the shelter, followed in April by a well-intentioned but ill-received proposal to help from the , Anderson said the shelter is seeing a windfall of support flowing in from all over the country.

"As upsetting as it [the Green Dog proposal] was, since the [where the Green Dog Rescue proposal was made], we've had eight $500-plus donations, new volunteers stepping up and so many people coming out of the woodwork to help," Anderson said.

"On the one hand, it was an extraordinarily egregious act," Anderson said of what he has referred to as a "hostile takeover" attempt. "But on the other hand, it has brought us tremendous support."

meeting that they had no wish to take over shelter operations and publicly apologizing to Anderson and the rest of the HAS board for any miscues, are moving on with their own agenda.

A public board meeting and community forum for Green Dog Rescue Project is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the

In other upcoming events and announcements, Anderson said HAS would be:

--Launching its new upgraded website by Friday.

--Revamping its policies on euthanasia.

--Revamping its training requirements for volunteers.

--Appointing two new board members. One has already been chosen; two more interviews are set for the second one, who will have financial expertise.

--Maintaining its policy for at least the next six months of requiring volunteers to sign a commitment of no-public-comment on the shelter. Anderson said the board would review the policy in six months to see if the language could be "softened," although he said it was fairly typical in the nonprofit animal welfare arena to have those type of restrictions in place.




Lisa Hadley May 02, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Dear Mr. Anderson, I am glad that you have clarified both in this article and at the last City Council meeting the status of HAS, both that you are not in crisis and that the new and moving on HAS is no longer an animal sanctuary and that as Saundra said of course the Healdsburg dogs will more likely be euthanized since you have to take them as they will have the behavior and medical issues over the ones you pick at other shelters. It is nice to at least know where HAS stands. I am glad that you will have new supporters that agree with that. And if they don’t there are as we know alternatives to HAS. I am surprised at two things though, 1 that apparently HAS has been unable to pay the local subs – not involved with the flooring (some were at the council mtg) – and 2) that you apparently have not have a conversation with HAS’s former President as she was fully aware of Sean’s non-architect status in the U.S. a couple of years before she asked Mr.Dutton to please push through all HAS requests for permits. I guess you could go back to Dr. Mayo and talk to him? I hope your timeline starts at the beginning.


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