Former Shelter Employee Speaks Out

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A former Brazos Animal Shelter employee says things just aren't right under Executive Director Kelley Durham.

After a nearly 13-year stint, Mary Haislet left the Brazos Animal Shelter in September 2005. She says she expressed her concerns over numerous problems she saw, but that nothing was done.

"To me, if you're trying to save lives and you have the animals true in your heart as you're first priority, you don't spend money that way," said Haislet.

That way, she believes, was on what she thought was unadvised expenditures like seminars across the country and on decorating the facility with expensive materials.

"Actions show people's true meaning, and when you're spending an enormous amount of money on things that don't help the animals, that is not a correct position for a shelter to be in."

"Number one, it was uplifting to the employees," said Durham. "Number two, it added a much needed facelift to a very old building."

Durham calls the bevy of allegations unfounded. "I believe that Mary, having been our longest term employee, was very frustrated by the fact that, just like every animal shelter, we're overrun every day," she said.

Haislet says employees have used donated items for their own personal use. Durham says she heard about that from Haislet, but was never provided names of the alleged.

Chief among Haislet's concerns is animal care, as she says the facility is much dirtier and diseased since Durham's arrival.

"I have talked to many, many visitors to the shelter, without me prompting them, say that the shelter is so dirty, they hate to even go there," Haislet said.

In response to Haislet's claims, Durham said, "It's not unusual for somebody who is experiencing burnout to try and find fault with why things haven't changed."

When asked if he had any reason to believe Haislet's claims were unfounded, County Judge and member of the board of directors Randy Sims said, "no."

Sims says Durham's job performance has not been up to his standards, and that her performance is being evaluated.

"I can't say for a fact that Kelley initiated the walkout over there of the employees," Sims said, "but I have a feeling that's how that got started."

Durham has denied organizing last week's speech, but that she supported her employee's stand.