Mountain Humane, the local nonprofit animal shelter, opened a new $16 million, 30,000-square-foot facility in Croy Canyon last year. Ten months later, three well-paid executives in that effort are gone, seven staff members have lost their jobs, six other jobs were not filled and a new president of the board of directors is calling for more cuts to operating expenses.

The president has offered the assurance that “we’re going to make it.” The official explanation for the staff cuts is that they were necessary because it’s more expensive to operate the new facility than the old one.

The explanation is not enough.

Mountain Humane’s board of directors needs to explain both what went wrong and how they will correct it. What led to the resignations of its long-time veterinarian and management executives? What exactly is the plan that will ensure that the shelter will make it in the future?

Mountain Humane is a nonprofit and technically doesn’t need to show the public anything except its annual tax returns. Nonetheless, it has an obligation to explain what happened to the many donors, employees and volunteers in the valley that have lavished both money and time on the shelter for decades.

It needs to explain what decisions led it to build an incredible facility, but apparently fail to anticipate operational expenses. It should explain why board oversight didn’t prevent the problem.

It should do so to shore up its credibility and to keep gossip and speculation from negatively affecting its future.

Mountain Humane has been a star in a large constellation of valley nonprofits. It has worked hard to protect and support man’s best friends. It needs to rub the tarnish off its star with a strong mixture of facts and transparency.

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