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Ex-board member allegedly hacks Oxford-Lafayette Humane Shelter’s website

A former board member allegedly hacked into the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Shelter’s website last week, according to shelter executive director Angie Avery.

Avery reported the incident at the shelter’s regular board meeting Tuesday night.

Avery said the former board member logged into the site, www.oxfordpets.com on Oct. 2 and changed the password so current staff couldn’t log onto the site to manage it.

“The names of the current board members were removed from the site, except the city and county representatives, and the entire volunteer information page was removed,” Avery said. “It’s since all been put back to normal.”

An officer with the Oxford Police Department made contact with the former board member and explained that if she didn’t change the password back she could face charges of stealing intellectual property.

The shelter and several former staff and board members have been at odds over the last six months due to arguments of how a $600,000 donation should be used and after several board members were removed and some staff resigned after voicing concerns over the number of animals being euthanized at the shelter.

In August, the city and county put one representative as liaisons on the board – Alderman Janice Antonow and Supervisor Chad McLarty who were both present at Tuesday’s meeting.

Several people attending the meeting had to stand outside of the open-door meeting due to lack of space inside the small room.

Also on Tuesday, Avery reported the shelter currently has 128 animals – 69 cats, 67 dogs and two Guinea pigs. In September, the shelter took in 300 animals – 213 were strays, 102 were owner surrenders, six were returns and four were seized by Animal Control. During the same time period, 114 animals were adopted, seven returned to owners, 11 were transported to other shelters and 152 were euthanized.

“Twelve were euthanized due to behavior and 140 for illness,” Avery reported.

In other business Monday, the board:

  • Heard a presentation from Mark Burson, a volunteer at the shelter and an assistant adjunct professor at the University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism who asked the board if the shelter could become “clients” of his students in the spring semester where they will work with the shelter to develop eight marketing strategies to help promote responsible pet ownership and the importance of spay and neutering. At the end of the semester, the shelter will choose one of the programs for implementation. The board unanimously approved the request.
  • Heard a presentation from Natasha Techen from 9 Lives Cat Rescue asking to work with OLHS to offer free spay and neutering for cats and provide a small space to help 9 Lives in its capture, fix and release program for roaming cats. No action was taken by the board.