Henry County Humane Society-Kewanee president speaks out, defends running of animal shelter


An at times heated evening at the Henry County Humane Society Kewanee Board meeting as the president makes her case for supporting the shelter.

Much of the debate was about the dog Neeko, who was euthanized last fall.

This is the first meeting since that was reported. 

It’s after former board members and employee said the dog’s health deteriorated after fed raisins by a former worker and resulting in kidney failure.

Thursday night, the board president responded publicly, saying it was craisins which aren’t considered toxic to dogs like raisins in small amounts.

She also defended the work by the board and efforts to improve the shelter from the previous board.

President Louise Harrison said, “It’s very sad that this has happened [to Neeko]. It’s not good for the Humane Society, and there’s no foundation for those claims.”

The president also told the meeting she welcomes members of the public to come down into the shelter to see how it’s run and to volunteer.

“We have got everything in place to make sure our animals are vetted, that they’re taken care of if they have medical issues,” said Harrison.

She said of the bright spots is the number of adoptions they’ve been able to facilitate since getting the new board in place. 

“We have rescued about 110 animals, and 80 of those have been adopted in about four months and a week or four months and two weeks, which I think is more than the previous shelter managed to do in a year,” said Harrison. 

She denied that the shelter has tried to cover up the information about Neeko’s death. 

Harrison also said one thing the board has been doing since elected last spring is working with the city’s mayor and police chief that has helped to develop some of their practices. 

Jennifer Russell was one of the people in attendance who volunteers both at the shelter and the city pound.

She hopes one lesson from what’s happened is education on pet care for everyone.

“Maybe they didn’t know raisins were toxic. Didn’t realize it was a big thing and honestly, there are a lot of people that don’t know that,” said Russell. “Education, making sure those things are posted, and all those protocols are followed if an animal is off.”

Russell also told Local 4 News one thing she wants residents to understand is the city pound can only accept pets that are brought in by police. 

Local 4 News was also provided with the veterinary records for Neeko by a former board member.

It shows the Blood Urea Nitrogen was flagged for being elevated. The normal range is between seven and 27, whereas Neeko test results came back at 58. 

Local 4 News was provided with the results from another dog, Cash, that also tested with elevated BUN numbers and recommending IV fluids. A former board member previously told Local 4, it was one of a few dogs that the work said raisins were fed to. 

In addition to the medical records, Local 4 received dozens of additional text messages between board members.

Three new board members were also introduced. 

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