Explain the Forced Resignation of SHARK's Founder
  • Petitioned Sheila Cook, President of the Board of Directors, SHARK

This petition was delivered to:

President of the Board of Directors, SHARK
Sheila Cook, President of the Board of Directors, SHARK
County Administrator
Roman Gastesi

Explain the Forced Resignation of SHARK's Founder

    1. Kimberly McConnell
    2. Petition by

      Kimberly McConnell

      Marathon, FL

     On April 12, 2013 Katie Bentley, the executive director of Safe Harbor Animal Rescue of the Florida Keys ("SHARK") was forced to resign by the President of SHARK's Board of Directors without being provided notice or opportunity to discuss allegations made against her.  Kennel cough was given as the reason for her ouster, though other unsupported allegations of neglect were enumerated.  Katie has worked at the shelter for eight years and , in 2010, personally formed the non-profit organization that runs the shelter. Please sign this petition and ask SHARK's Board to do the following:

1.  Provide to the Marathon community, in writing, the reasons that they forced the resignation of Executive Director Katie Bentley;

2.  Provide an opportunity for Katie Bentley to refute any and all allegations against her and for the Marathon community to present evidence and testimony in her support.

3.  Open discussion on the reinstatement of Katie Bentley as the Executive Director.

     There was not a single inspection, or an investigation, or any evidence offered in support of the Board's decision. She has received frequent walk-throughs from local veterinarians without incident. She also kept them informed about the dogs under her care with kennel cough, and was given the understanding that it is an illness that simply needs to run its course.

     The shelter claims on its website that it wants to be 'progressive' and a 'pride for the community.' Now is the time to hold the Board of Directors to that claim. This shelter is contracted by Monroe County, OUR COUNTY. This shelter is part of OUR COMMUNITY. These animals are in OUR CARE. Do not let unsupported accusations undo the work of dedicated, selfless volunteers and employees and especially of Katie Bentley. 

Please, sign this petition and request SHARK's Board of Directors to Reinstate Katie Bentley, the founder of SHARK, as its Director.  By signing this petition, you will pressure the Board of SHARK to explain to us, their fellow community members, the rashness of their recent actions. You will help give the shelter dogs back their guardian in Katie. You will help put responsibility, to the dogs and the community, back in the hands of the person who clearly cherishes it so dearly. 

To:
Sheila Cook, President of the Board of Directors, SHARK, President of the Board of Directors, SHARK
Roman Gastesi, County Administrator
Reinstate SHARK's Founder, Katie Bentley

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 100 signatures
    2. SHARK Cancels Interview

      Kimberly McConnell
      Petition Organizer

      Sheila Cook, President of the Board for SHARK cancelled an interview with Bill Becker on US1 Radio this morning, apparently citing 'confidentiality' issues. So, instead of an explanation, we get silence.

    3. Support Katie on "Our Rescue Dog Loves Katie" Page!

      Kimberly McConnell
      Petition Organizer

      One peace-minded supporter snapped a pic of her rescue dog with a sign saying "I Love Katie". Dogs show gratitude best! Post your pic and 'like' the page to show your support:

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Our-Rescue-Dog-Loves-Katie/487809077953522

      Our Rescue Dog Loves Katie

      These are the faces of the dogs rescued by Katie Bentley's loving hand when she was Executive...

    4. Reached 50 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Patricia Witt MARATHON, FL
      • over 1 year ago

      Because Katie is the loving caring director who found a home for my neighbors African servile cat when she (neighbor) passed away without warning. Katie has always gone above and beyond the call of duty, she deserves better. As a resident of Marathon please allow me to apologize to Katie for the stupidity of the SHARK Board.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Patricia Carden ATLANTIC BEACH, FL
      • over 1 year ago

      Because the care she gave had heart like no other would ever give. She was a godsend to the poor animals. To take her from them is monstrous.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • April Ruethemann KEY WEST, FL
      • over 1 year ago

      I have known Katie since 2007. I have watched Katie work tirelessly to create a safe environment for animals which others had discarded and disregarded. She worried over their health and became well acquainted with local veterinarians. She worried over their scars (seen and unseen) and gave them love, a soft touch, and a kind word. She worried about their future and tried to find the best homes, not just in general, but for each particular dog and its individual needs. She was up early for Bridge Walks, Poo duty, and all the everyday little things that take extra time. As my roommate (before moving to KW), she often left the house late at night to make one last check on the new arrival, who, like all “newbies” was alone and scared in a new place. In an entire year, I may have seen her once when she was NOT sweaty (it’s an outdoor job too), dirty (poo and paws have colors), and smiling (because animals are the best!) To say she was dedicated would be flippant – she was their angel, defender, rescuer, and she could be tough if you messed with her animals. With this background knowledge, I cannot comprehend the current situation regarding her and SHARK – it is unfathomable.

      Currently, there are several speculations running along the Conch Telegraph, as to who is responsible for all this maneuvering. Due to lack of explanation, one wonders which ones are true, such as: it’s a veterinarian in Marathon that was denied exclusive contract with SHARK, a Board member’s ego was insulted, a Board member with plans for a real estate deal, an ‘animal’ organization with the motive to change it to a ‘Kill at Will’ shelter, an employee and her husband with a budding career agenda and/or vendetta. And the stories continue to grow and expand as the silence continues. No one believes it’s a kennel cough issue. So who is responsible for this employee, who had a great job review, to be suddenly deemed inept? Do we just need to wait and see who benefits from this change in Director? Follow the money? Follow the influence?

      And finally, in our country, the tenets of justice demand that one is innocent until proven guilty, has the right to face one’s accusers, and the obligation to defend oneself against unjust claims. (Even the Monroe County employees who purchased “too good to be true” IPhones had their day before a judge.) If these principles no longer hold sway in our community, and we can accuse, try and convict capriciously, then it’s my turn. I find Sheila Cook has not met my expectations for behavior and actions of a Board President: events have forced me to question her integrity, her motives, and her actions. At the very least, I request that Monroe County Commissioners, the County Attorney, and Wendy Cole of Social Services, please investigate this matter. My wish is that Katie may, once again, be and do what she was meant for in this life.

      Best regards,

      A.R. - Resident and voter of Monroe County

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • April Ruethemann KEY WEST, FL
      • over 1 year ago

      I have known Katie since 2007. I have watched Katie work tirelessly to create a safe environment for animals which others had discarded and disregarded. She worried over their health and became well acquainted with local veterinarians. She worried over their scars (seen and unseen) and gave them love, a soft touch, and a kind word. She worried about their future and tried to find the best homes, not just in general, but for each particular dog and its individual needs. She was up early for Bridge Walks, Poo duty, and all the everyday little things that take extra time. As my roommate (before moving to KW), she often left the house late at night to make one last check on the new arrival, who, like all “newbies” was alone and scared in a new place. In an entire year, I may have seen her once when she was NOT sweaty (it’s an outdoor job too), dirty (poo and paws have colors), and smiling (because animals are the best!) To say she was dedicated would be flippant – she was their angel, defender, rescuer, and she could be tough if you messed with her animals. With this background knowledge, I cannot comprehend the current situation regarding her and SHARK – it is unfathomable.

      Currently, there are several speculations running along the Conch Telegraph, as to who is responsible for all this maneuvering. Due to lack of explanation, one wonders which ones are true, such as: it’s a veterinarian in Marathon that was denied exclusive contract with SHARK, a Board member’s ego was insulted, a Board member with plans for a real estate deal, an ‘animal’ organization with the motive to change it to a ‘Kill at Will’ shelter, an employee and her husband with a budding career agenda and/or vendetta. And the stories continue to grow and expand as the silence continues. No one believes it’s a kennel cough issue. So who is responsible for this employee, who had a great job review, to be suddenly deemed inept? Do we just need to wait and see who benefits from this change in Director? Follow the money? Follow the influence?

      And finally, in our country, the tenets of justice demand that one is innocent until proven guilty, has the right to face one’s accusers, and the obligation to defend oneself against unjust claims. (Even the Monroe County employees who purchased “too good to be true” IPhones had their day before a judge.) If these principles no longer hold sway in our community, and we can accuse, try and convict capriciously, then it’s my turn. I find Sheila Cook has not met my expectations for behavior and actions of a Board President: events have forced me to question her integrity, her motives, and her actions. At the very least, I request that Monroe County Commissioners, the County Attorney, and Wendy Cole of Social Services, please investigate this matter. My wish is that Katie may, once again, be and do what she was meant for in this life.

      Best regards,

      A.R. - Resident and voter of Monroe County

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Dolores Thomas ORANGE PARK, FL
      • over 1 year ago

      Too many BOD's act without accountability and seem to think they are autonomous. But they must provide reasons and explanations, and more importantly, proof, before they take action.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.