Tulsa Humane Society Responds After Two Leaders Ordered to Pay $5,000 Fines

Tulsa Humane Society Board President Gina Gardner and Director of Operations Lawrence DePriest will each have to pay $5,000 in fines in a decision by the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners on Friday.

Monday, February 19th 2024, 5:52 pm



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The Humane Society of Tulsa is responding after two of its leaders were ordered to pay $5,000 in fines for illegally putting down 11 dogs.

The euthanizations happened last summer at a no-kill shelter in Grove.

The Humane Society acknowledges it made a mistake, but it maintains what it did in Grove was humane and says things are business as usual here.

Tulsa Humane Society Board President Gina Gardner and Director of Operations Lawrence DePriest will each have to pay $5,000 in fines in a decision by the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners on Friday.

"We definitely just kind of want to clear the air and share our side of the story,” Adoption Manager Rachel Ward said.

Ward said she was there the day the dogs were put down.

Ward said the Department of Agriculture asked the Tulsa Humane Society to help the Second Chance Pet Rescue in Grove with overcrowding issues last July. Ward called the situation "heartbreaking," and when it comes to the 11 dogs that were put down, she points to issues like aggression, biting, and attacking. 

Related: Tulsa Humane Society Workers Accused Of Euthanizing Dogs At No-Kill Shelter

"Dogs sitting in kennels made of cement blocks and chain link for years is a very sad situation. And some of the mental degradation that we saw in these animals was worse than I've ever seen,” Ward said.

The vet board said in its agreed order that while the dogs were put down in a humane way, Gardner and DePriest were not supervised or directed by a veterinarian, which is not legal.

"It was determined that our team misinterpreted our written protocols from our vet. So we did have to have our vet on site, which is where the mistake happened,” Ward said.

The Grove shelter has a new director, who told us last fall when we first reported on this issue, "As shelter director, my focus is on the safety, well-being & happiness of the animals in my care..."

On another note, the Humane Society of Tulsa said it is waiting on the IRS for a letter of reinstatement so it can claim it is a 501(c)(3) again.

The humane society said it missed a deadline, and records show it lost its status in May of 2022.

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