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Animal shelter foundation leader resigns

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

The co-founder and longtime chairwoman of the Denton Animal Foundation has resigned.

Bette Sherman announced last week that she submitted her letter of resignation, effective immediately, to the board on May 16. The group’s bylaws state that the vice chairman automatically becomes the chairman, but foundation secretary Laura Brewer has been taking care of the group’s many day-to-day activities.

In her letter to the board, Sherman estimated that she had contributed more than 18,700 hours as the foundation’s leader. The group had not hired an executive director in order to save on administrative costs and put more of the money raised toward animal care and adoptions. But, such a hire had been in the plans, and would have been part of a transition had the city’s new animal shelter opened this summer, Sherman said.

Once it became clear that the city wouldn’t be opening the shelter this year, and that it likely wouldn’t be opened until late summer of next year, Sherman decided to resign.

“It was just too much to keep going for another year and a half,” Sherman said. “I just need to call it quits.”

The group, which she helped to found, had raised about $2 million in cash and in-kind donations toward a capital campaign for the city’s new animal shelter. The group also raised money to subsidize adoptions and to supplement veterinary care. Sherman estimated she and her husband, Bob Sherman, contributed $170,000 to the cause, in addition to in-kind and other donations they made.

Sherman had served as the foundation’s chairwoman for seven years and, because of the group’s bylaws, wouldn’t have been eligible to serve another term. Her current term ends in January. As vice chairwoman, Pete Kamp, who also is Denton’s mayor pro tem, automatically became the chairwoman.

Because she, too, would be ineligible to serve beyond January, Kamp said the board is expected to vote in a new chairman soon.

The foundation has been subsidizing adoptions to ease overcrowding at the shelter and reduce the number of animals being put down simply for lack of space. Some of the fundraising and subsidized adoptions were tied to a national challenge sponsored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and television host Rachael Ray.

The foundation received a $5,000 grant from the challenge in November.

However, some members of the foundation board have questioned whether the group could continue to raise money at that pace for another year, Sherman said.

City officials have said construction should be finished next summer, with the shelter opening in July. However, the City Council has not yet awarded the construction contract for the building, which will be erected on North Locust Street, near North Lakes Park.

Sherman said she is pleased with what the group has been able to accomplish and she will continue to help out. She remains on the board as parliamentarian and chairwoman of the nominating committee.

“It’s not about who is chair when it opens — it’s about opening the new shelter,” Sherman said.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.