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Western PA Humane Society director on leave amid 'collie controversy'

Posted by NSRN on 2016-02-09

Director accused of buying $1,000 dog from breeder

The director of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society has been placed on paid administrative leave following a petition calling for her removal amid a controversy over her alleged purchase of a collie.

The petition on supported by more than 900 people, accuses Joy Braunstein of paying $1000 to a breeder for a collie from "Carter Collies" in North Carolina.

"If you are the director of an animal shelter you should not be buying an animal of any kind from a breeder. Shame on her," wrote one supporter of the petition.

Another poster went even deeper.

"Joy Braunstein, you are a disgrace to the rescue community ... and should be removed from your position effective immediately. Paying $1000 to a breeder when you are ... going over a list of dogs to decide whether or not you will euthanize them is a complete conflict of interest," they wrote.

Humane society boarder member Anthony Pardo confirmed that Braunstein has been placed on administrative leave amid the controversy.

"She's been put on paid administrative leave pending what's going on. Allegations are allegations and we don't know what's true. We thought it best to get her out of the limelight while we try to figure out what's happened and formulate a proper response on behalf of the board and the humane society," said Pardo.

An email to Braunstein Tuesday was not returned nor were phone calls. No one with the Western PA Humane Society wanted to comment when Pittsburgh's Action News 4 showed up at the facility on Tuesday evening.

Braunstein's husband did return a call requesting comment and called the allegations against his wife "ridiculous".

He went on to say that two women who created the petition are facing criminal charges for harassment. Pittsburgh's Action News 4 has reached out to police and checked judicial dockets but thus far has been unable to confirm his statement.

He said that his wife is "pretty upset".

Meanwhile, criticism continued online Tuesday night where several people identifying themselves as former employees and volunteers claimed they quit, were fired, or resigned because of a negative environment during Braunstein's leadership. She began her role at the humane society in January 2015.

Braunstein will remain out of the office until the board arrives at a decision.

"I think it's hypocritical. She's the director of the humane society that are promoting adoption," said Kelly Sham, who signed the petition.