Dutchess SPCA Director Resigns After Alleged 'Fake News' Campaign

An ex-employee claimed the shelter excessively neglected and euthanized animals without authorization in a campaign targeting Donna Angiolillo


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The executive director of the Dutchess County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DCSPCA), Donna Angiolillo, resigned recently due to accusations of animal killings at the organization; a scandal that Wayne Mabey, chairman of the Dutchess SPCA’s board of directors, believes arose from a fake news campaign by disgruntled employees.

Mabey, who will serve as interim director while the organization searches for a new candidate, lashed out against the allegations in a press release, stating the “entirely unwarranted” accusations were “designed to elicit sympathetic reactions from well-meaning animal lovers throughout the Hudson Valley.”

“They carefully crafted a false story line that had people believing that DCSPCA had suddenly veered from its mission of the last 145 years and was indiscriminately killing dogs and cats without good reason,” he continued. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Christina Novak, the DCSPCA’s former director of communications, claimed in November that animal deaths in the shelter due to euthanasia and negligence were excessive and unauthorized. According to Hudson Valley News Network, Novak said 72 animals in total, 27 dogs and 45 cats, were euthanized in the 10 months of Angiolillo’s tenure. While Novak provided documentation allegedly obtained from the DCSPCA’s Shelter Buddy database, an internal investigation eventually cleared Angiolillo and the staff of the accusations.

The DCSPCA has been a no-kill animal shelter since 1992. However, euthanizations are still carried out in the case of terminal disease, fatal injuries, or if the animal is deemed dangerous.

According to Mabey, Angiolillo’s reasons for leaving were “personal,” but she will remain with the organization for consulting support until a new director is found.

“It is troubling enough that the detractors have implied that we killed dogs without cause but they have gone on to imply that we have done so, lightly. It is offensive that they have led others believe that we do not take very seriously such rare cases of euthanasia for dangerous behavior,” said Mabey. “Nobody at DCSPCA takes such decisions lightly, not staff, directors or officers!”  

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