Humane Society delays electing new board

Leaders still working to file nonprofit application

By Erin Thompson -

The Humane Society of Madison County not yet re-applied for its nonprofit status, although new leaders are optimistic about progress made since it was discovered the organization is facing a host of tax issues.

During a meeting Monday at the Hurt/Battelle Memorial Library in West Jefferson, transitionary board members updated the roughly 25 citizens in attendance.

A board was supposed to be elected during the meeting, but after finding the shelter’s bylaws, it was discovered that electing a new board was a months-long process meant to be started in September and finalized by January.

Rather than ignore the bylaws and move forward to create a board, a transitional board was created instead to run things until this fall.

“Our major goal of all of this is to be very… strict on everything,” said Dr. J.J. Coate, who is serving as a transitional board president.

The 5013c application has not yet been sent in and the previous four years of missing tax returns have not yet been filed, according to Liz Benzinger, who undertook the massive project.

Once the application is filed, it can take up to one year for the IRS to approve it, according to Benzinger.

Questions were asked by those in attendance, namely, what is taking so long?

Cindy Phillips, a board member and vet tech for the shelter, said old receipts and bills are “literally and figuratively in kitty litter bags.

“We’ve made important strides. I wish the timeline was faster.”

The shelter lost its nonprofit status in 2011 and has not filed tax returns for 2013 through 2016, an issue that became public last November.

An email exchange between board members indicated they had known about the loss of the shelter’s nonprofit status since June 2012. Without the 5013c, the shelter is unable to receive grant money and any donations made are not tax deductible.

The current board is holding monthly meetings, a stark contrast to the previous board, which rarely met.

Meetings will be held the second Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at the library.
Leaders still working to file nonprofit application

By Erin Thompson

Reach Erin Thompson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615.

Reach Erin Thompson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615.