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New Humane Society interim CEO appointed amidst ongoing animal investigation

HSSA plans to meet with the San Diego Humane Society later this week
Humane Society of Southern Arizona Guinea Pig.png
Posted at 8:08 PM, Oct 16, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — In a significant development regarding the hundreds of missing animals at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA), Beth Morrison has assumed the role of Interim CEO for the next six months, effective from Monday. The HSSA's decision to appoint Morrison was based on her track record of successfully guiding organizations through challenging circumstances.

This development follows the unsettling events which unfolded earlier this year. In July, the San Diego Humane Society transferred a variety of small animals, including rabbits, guinea pigs, and rats, to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. At the time, then-CEO Steve Farley assured the board that these animals had been smoothly relocated to a private, family-run rescue group located in Maricopa County.

However, subsequent revelations have raised questions about the well-being and whereabouts of these animals. The HSSA found out the owner of the rescue group had connections to a reptile farm, and there were no documented records for the adoption of 254 of the small animals. Consequently, Farley was relieved of his duties earlier this month.

In response to these alarming developments, the HSSA engaged a private investigator to unravel the mystery surrounding the missing animals. The investigator has since established contact with the individuals responsible for the unlicensed private rescue.

"I hope that they cooperate further, and I really look to them and hope that they can help us on this and resolve this concern about the well-being of these animals, for us, for our entire community," HSSA Board Chairman Robert Garcia shared.

To address this ongoing issue, the HSSA plans to meet with the San Diego Humane Society later this week to discuss the progress and strategy of the animal investigation. The situation remains fluid, and more updates are anticipated as the investigation unfolds.

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Bri Pacelli is a multimedia journalist for KGUN 9. Bri is a graduate from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School, where she earned a degree in journalism and mass communication. She interned with Criminal Minded Media, a podcast company focused on Arizona's historical crime. Share your story ideas and important issues with Bri by emailing bri.pacelli@kgun9.com or by connecting on Instagram.