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Humane Society CEO Accused of Inhumane Actions

Despite its mission to confront cruelty of animals, at least one member of the Humane Society of the United States needs a reminder that humans are just as deserving of compassion and protection.

In early February, CEO Wayne Pacelle resigned after allegations surfaced of sexual harassment. Initially, its board voted to retain Pacelle after concluding that the allegations weren't supported by credible evidence. However, a donor outcry, several board resignations, the launch of an official investigation, and the threat of an employee walkout were enough to trigger a swift reversal. Humane Society international affiliate president Kitty Block was appointed as acting CEO.

Much of the outcry against Pacelle was amplified after the Washington Post published several details from the official investigation. Those accounts demonstrated a pattern of behavior that, while not outright predatory, was still coercive, and including sexual advances made toward subordinates and volunteers. The scope of the investigation widened after several female senior-level officials claimed they had previously warned Pacelle that his behavior was negatively impacting the organization. Additionally, several other women were paid in settlement cases after claiming they were fired in retaliation for speaking out against Pacelle, whose behavior seemed to be tolerated among certain senior management.

Merriam-Webster defines "humane" as "marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration for humans or animals." The organization could probably use a reminder that in the official definition, humans come first.

Potential preaching angles: Before you go out and change the world, ask God for help in changing yourself. Leaders should be held to a higher standard of conduct. Judgment comes first to the house of God.

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