WALNUT CREEK — Two days right after the Animal Rescue Basis put an upbeat spin on the break up involving the East Bay animal welfare nonprofit and its founders, Tony La Russa and his spouse and children took matters in an additional path completely. On Wednesday, they reported they dissolved the partnership, which dates back to 1991, simply because they think the group’s leaders are no for a longer period dedicated to fostering a culture of “compassion and treatment for animals” and “mutual respect” amid employees.
In a statement shared with this news group, the former Oakland A’s manager stated he and his family have questioned to have their names taken off from the organization’s signage and no for a longer time want their “reputations” involved with the nonprofit, which has extensive been synonymous with the Alamo-based mostly family’s brand of area philanthropy. The La Russa family’s legal professional despatched ARF a stop-and-desist letter on March 3 demanding that the nonprofit quit utilizing La Russa names, likenesses and social media accounts within the next 90 times. The household is also demanding the return of its particular baseball and songs memorabilia.
ARF’s push release, issued on March 6, had explained the parting of approaches capped “30 several years of a productive partnership” and marked “ARF’s evolution and reaction to today’s worries in animal welfare.”
La Russa’s assertion was considerably additional blunt.
“Compassion and treatment for animals is our family’s passion,” La Russa reported in his statement. “But ARF’s present-day management, procedures and attitudes function versus fulfilling its mission. We have concluded we need to completely separate ourselves, our name and our name from ARF.”
La Russa, who retired from baseball in October, stated that for yrs, the “close-knit culture” of ARF experienced been “like an extended” spouse and children — “like-minded men and women who shared a passion for animals” and “a bond of mutual respect and belief.”
“This society was an vital component in ARF’s early and ongoing achievement,” La Russa mentioned. “That is, regrettably, no lengthier the situation, which is why we no extended want to be affiliated with the basis we created.”
The La Russa family initial lifted concerns about ARF’s management in April 2021 when the business faced allegations that its executives nurtured a “toxic” workplace culture, rife with bullying, favoritism, retaliation and ageist and racist remarks. The venerable Bay Spot nonprofit was strike with 4 lawsuits filed by previous and existing staff members who alleged that ARF’s long-time govt director Elena Bicker and board president Greg McCoy “tolerated, engendered and permitted a harmful place of work society.” 1 of individuals lawsuits has considering the fact that been settled on undisclosed conditions, although the other three are still pending, in accordance to Contra Costa County Outstanding Courtroom records.
La Russa, his wife and daughters resigned from the board that spring but agreed to continue to be loosely affiliated with ARF to assist in its fundraising efforts though the organization was supposed to make alterations. “The closing straw,” the statement stated, came very last month, when ARF “mishandled” the Feb. 9 adoption of a doggy named Lovebug.
As the assertion recounts the story, inspite of actions notes and guidelines saying that Lovebug wanted a harness, ARF sent Lovebug property with her elderly adopters without having just one. The dog, a Chihuahua blend, right away escaped. Around the following two weeks, the La Russas figured out that ARF experienced halted many lookup-and-rescue makes an attempt, even while Lovebug experienced been viewed quite a few moments by neighbors.
Lastly, on a night when temperatures dipped underneath freezing, a group of volunteers and users of the La Russa family members established a trap for Lovebug, who was properly captured and now life with Tony La Russa’s daughter Bianca. But rather of celebrating that Lovebug’s lifetime had been saved, ARF told the 20-yr volunteer who experienced arranged the rescue that her solutions have been no longer essential, the statement reported.
“This response to a particular person who has devoted 10-15 hours for each 7 days to the group for 20 a long time, and fostered about 570 animals, is heartbreaking and unacceptable,” the La Russa relatives claimed.
In a statement Wednesday, ARF did not tackle the management and workplace problems, the Lovebug incident or the breakdown of its relationship with the La Russa loved ones. ARF mentioned its board, “after mindful thought,” voted March 1 to “officially individual from the La Russa loved ones … We increase our gratitude to Tony and his spouse and children for their passion for animals and aid of our firm over the yrs. We stay fully commited to serving our beloved neighborhood and glance ahead to continuing to make a constructive effect in the lives of animals and the people who enjoy them.”
Susan Lee Vick changed Bicker as the organization’s top executive in January. In a temporary assertion Tuesday, ARF marketing and advertising manager Cole Kuiper reported Tuesday that Bicker’s departure had almost nothing to do with the 2021 leadership controversy and “was exclusively related to the point she and her husband equally prepared to retire in 2022.”
The La Russa family started the group after a stray cat wandered onto the enjoying discipline throughout a 1990 activity between the Oakland A’s and the New York Yankees. La Russa, then the A’s supervisor, and his wife realized the cat would likely be euthanized due to the fact the East Bay did not have a no-eliminate shelter and set up an business to rescue canines and cats from superior-destroy shelters and assist them be adopted into loving residences.
The organization’s mission and La Russa’s connections won ARF guidance from enthusiastic volunteers and renowned pals in athletics and entertainment who assisted with once-a-year fundraisers this kind of as its annual Stars to the Rescue reward. ARF quickly grew into a preeminent Bay Area animal welfare nonprofit, dependable for extra than 47,000 animal adoptions and working out of a gleaming animal shelter, veterinary clinic and neighborhood center in Walnut Creek.