Washington County humane officer says she’s on call 24/7, but not getting paid

A humane officer for Washington County said is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week but she is not getting paid.

“I’d had too many calls in a row, too many nights in a row. Just frustrated,” Cathy Cunningham said.

Cunningham is talking about the night she took to Facebook in an open letter to Washington County Commissioners, asking them for money in the budget to hire a humane officer.

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Channel 11 was there in August when nearly 100 dogs were rescued from a puppy mills. Cathy Cunningham worked with state police and the Humane Society to save them -- Cunningham was the one who wasn’t paid.

Cunningham started her nonprofit 12 years ago. Over the last three months, she’s rescued pigs, countless dog and cats, cows and chickens.

She said they don’t have to hire her, they just need to hire someone.

“Washington County is not poor and the fact that this is ignored and has now taken me to the point of anger,” Cunningham said.

The Washington Area Humane Society has one full-time paid worker and one part-time. They work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will go out after hours for emergencies.

The rest of all after-hours calls go to Cunningham or another unpaid volunteer. But after 12 years, she can’t afford it to continue and worries what will happen to the animals.

“Who is going to take care of the animals in the middle of the night or on a Sunday or Christmas Day. I’ve been called out on Christmas Day,” Cunningham said.