Residents React to Lawsuit Against Humane Society of Washington County

- HAGERSTOWN, Md. - A former employee is taking civil action against the Humane Society of Washington County. She filed many allegations at circuit court, after she says she was fired for making efforts to expose animal mistreatment at the facility.

The 20-plus page civil complaint filed by Amanda Surber, says she was fired from the Humane Society of Washington County in September after she refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

In the paperwork, which she filed in December, she makes 86 separate allegations from not receiving proper pay, to how animals were mistreated at the humane society. Community members are shocked by the allegations.

"I know the humane society is overloaded with strays and a lot of animals," said Lauren Kahofer, a Hagerstown resident. "I guess it must be hard to keep up but I think that it is important to treat animals with kindness, regardless of the situation."

"If they have documented evidence, then they may have a case, they have something there," said Damian DeFelice, a Hagerstown resident. "For me I'm against the mistreatment of animals, if they have something they should go after it."

The document claims the company did not pay overtime. The supervisor made inappropriate remarks to employees and he engaged in dangerous practices that injured or killed several animals at the facility. The paperwork details instances when sick animals where housed with healthy ones, spreading diseases. Animals were euthanized, not according to industry standards, causing painful deaths.

"I would hate to think that would be true, the allegations would hold any truth," said Kahofer. "I do think it is outrageous to treat animals in such a cruel manner and I hope that any type of situations or wrongdoing would be amended." 

The board president of the humane society released a statement, saying in part:

"We strongly deny the allegations in the lawsuit and will defend ourselves at the appropriate time in court. As always, we remain focused on our mission of improving the quality of life for all animals."

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