|State Supreme Court Justice
Richard Kloch ruled that the law
allows a board of directors of a not
for profit corporation, such as the
Niagara County SPCA, to set their
own rules for membership, and
can, as in the case of the SPCA, if
the board chooses, raise membership
fees to $1,000. Membership
fees previously were $25.
The Niagara County SPCA, feeling "vindicated" after winning dismissal of a lawsuit by three members against the board's decision to increase voting membership fees from $25 to $1,000 and to the legality of the board itself, is promising to refocus its energy on bringing back corporate sponsors.
Board President Bryan Barish said the lawsuit seemed to be an attempt by the activists to take over the shelter, saying "the only ones who got hurt are the animals," and he said it was now time to bring in much-needed corporate sponsorship to continue the shelter's "no kill" efforts.
Barish said the shelter is committed to No Kill regardless of the cost, and he believes the legal victory will go a long way toward re-establishing the shelter's credibility with corporate supporters. He said the shelter has raised its survival rate to 90 percent or higher, and believes the success of the program is helping to win back corporate sponsors.
Carol Tutzauer, the president of Buffalo Humane and one of the activists who filed the court action against the SPCA, said in a news release that she was disappointed in the decision by State Supreme Court Justice Richard Kloch that the SPCA board has "complete power over membership," but she vowed to continue to step up for the animals.
"This action regarding process and fairness to members never influenced our efforts to help the animals," Tutzauer said in a written statement. "I am very supportive of the shelter's No Kill mission, and I have been their champion in having their efforts recognized among No Kill watchdog organizations. I am also a resident of Niagara County, and this is my shelter too."