Animal Ark founder decries shelter's proposed move from 'no kill' to 'low kill'

Animal Ark, a Hastings animal shelter founded on a "no kill" policy, is considering a shift to a "low kill" plan.

But for people like Animal Ark founder Marlene Foote and her son, former executive director Mike Fry, that change is described as "borderline horrific."

Marlene and Mike tell Fox 9 they were forced to resign after board members began a complete takeover of Animal Ark, and that the new interim director, Curt Peterson, has plans of implementing a low kill policy.

"I was aghast because Animal Ark, the reason for Animal Ark was to be a no kill shelter!" Marlene says. "It's not what this organization is about."

Marlene founded Animal Ark in 1977. She resigned in November, just in time for Peterson to make his pitch to the board for low kill policies that embrace more "humane treatment."

Fox 9 called Peterson to learn why he'd alter Animal Ark's 37-year no kill legacy, but he declined to comment and referred us to board spokesman Steve Bell, who didn't return our calls.

Unlike previous years, Animal Ark's 3-person board allegedly didn't even consider votes or ballots cast by the organization's thousands of members.

"The board may have violated the law in the way they handled the voting," Fry says.

Politics aside, more than 700 animals are saved by Animal Ark every year. Now Mike are Marlene are concerned the decades they've invested protecting animals might be tarnished.

Fry has submitted a complaint to Attorney General Lori Swanson expressing concern about the board's election process.

Meanwhile, the board hired an attorney less than a month after Foote stepped down to pursue eliminating her monthly pension, but they weren't successful in that effort.

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