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Animals lose a good man

| April 7, 2010 9:00 PM

Phil Morgan is a dog's best friend.

We could add cats, rabbits, even snakes to that list.

But after four years as executive director of Kootenai Humane Society, Morgan's trailblazing came to an abrupt end last week when his contract was terminated. As is so often the case with these sudden separations, both parties were polite and wished the other well. Yet much was clearly left unsaid, as Morgan's positive impact on Kootenai County animals and humans alike stood in stark contrast to any apparent deficiency or dispute with his board.

The good news is that Morgan isn't going anywhere, at least not for awhile. He is still serving as executive director of Panhandle Animal Shelter, a second hat he donned last December. Perhaps there he can implement some of the successful actions he brought to Kootenai Humane Society, which was an organization in chaos four years ago when Morgan arrived.

In that time he brought a strong business ethic to KHS, erasing operational deficits by significantly increasing fundraising and public awareness while improving the compassionate mission of caring for animals. Morgan arrived to an understaffed facility overcrowded with unwanted pets. He solidified the fiscal base despite a brutal economic downturn and dramatically improved the adoption rate for animals. Working with new board members, Morgan helped defuse a potentially devastating conflict over the facility's no-kill policy.

We aren't certain about the direction KHS is now headed, but we echo Morgan's ardent wishes for KHS to maintain the course he helped set and for the community to continue to support the organization no matter who's in charge. We encourage residents to visit the facility soon and see how you can help, either through adoption or donation.

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