Canyon County

Canyon animal shelter comes under financial scrutiny, defends operations

The West Valley Humane Society animal shelter has drawn fire from a community group in recent months and now is expected to be audited by Canyon County and the city of Nampa.

Susan Woodward, interim executive director of the shelter, said Friday night that shelter management has “nothing to hide.”

“They’re more than welcome to do an audit,” Woodward said. “They’re not going to find anything that shouldn’t be there.”

Nampa Mayor Bob Henry announced the city’s plans for a review of the shelter’s financial records Friday afternoon.

“Because the shelter is entrusted with the care of Nampa dogs, and there are ongoing concerns with the operations at WVHS, I will also be appointing, as allowed by the contract, one of the city’s animal control officers to the board of directors,” Henry said in a news release. He said Nampa’s finance team aims to coordinate with Caldwell staff to jointly review the financials, sharing the cost.

The Humane Society is a nonprofit, overseen by an independent board, that runs the shelter in a county-owned building in Caldwell. Nampa, Caldwell and the county all contract with WVHS to house animals there.

Canyon County commissioners also plan to seek an audit for the shelter and met with an accounting firm Monday to discuss the possibility. The county’s existing contract with the Humane Society, which expires at the end of this month, does not give commissioners authority to call for an external audit, a county spokesman said. That provision will likely be added to the contract before it is renewed Oct. 1.

About 30 people attended the county budget hearing Aug. 31 to ask commissioners to take action against shelter leadership. They alleged mismanagement and inhumane treatment of animals. Most were members of Bunny Project, mobilized by the death of a dog named Bunny who was euthanized at the shelter in April despite her owner’s efforts to find and recover her.

Woodward said the Humane Society is proud of its shelter and treatment of animals, and said opponents of the organization have magnified a few incidents. She encouraged community members to “come in and take a tour of the shelter and see for themselves.” She invited people with concerns or questions about the shelter to email or call 455-5923.