A former volunteer was arrested yesterday at Miami Dade Animal Services (MDAS) for nefarious behavior and trespassing. Actually, the charge was trespassing, but it appears that Yulia Khinkis was engaged in a nefarious activity. She was putting sweaters on the dogs for the cold and she was — even worse — cleaning out the feces from the dirty kennels.
Volunteers be vigilant. Should you ever see any other former volunteer cleaning the kennels of feces or other dirt, immediately contact a shelter employee so that person helping the animals can be arrested.
Levity aside, it’s very true that a former volunteer who was banned from volunteering at the shelter for what those who know her call “whistleblowing” was arrested by the police at the behest of MDAS. It’s shocking that a person who was doing something as innocuous as cleaning out a kennel would be arrested and taken to jail.
A witness to the scene wrote:
“As we made the turn facing the parking lot, I see Mrs. Khinkis known as Yulia. She had bags full of blankets and quilts that people donated so I approached her and gave her a hug. I proceeded in opening the kennels and taking the dogs out and she started cleaning the feces since the dogs were getting dirty and stepping all over it. Thats when out of nowhere (an employee) starts demanding out loud for Yulia to leave the premises since she was banned from being a volunteer for whistle blowing. I decided to put the animals inside, and I even had a young girl who was volunteering helping also. They told her to put the dog inside and leave to the other side of the facility. At this point we had about 10 staff members surrounding us. Mrs. Lorna Mejia who’s the main director was being very aggressive towards us, especially Yulia. That’s when I told her that the reason they didn’t want her there was because she had proof of what in reality takes place in there. The animals being neglected, staff beating the animals, euthanizing etc. Mrs. Mejia (responded) that I could say what ever I wanted; that it wasn’t true. She proceeded telling me if I wanted to keep on volunteering I had to leave that instant, so I grabbed my phone, and told her I was going to record it, and she said NO that I wasn’t able to record anything inside the shelter.“
So not only are former volunteers arrested for helping the animals, current volunteers are forbidden from videoing the actions of employees before the former employee was arrested. Someone who is working to make MDAS a better place wrote that “They REQUIRE that volunteers never say anything negative to the press or on social media, about what really goes on inside MDAS.” If that is true, that is illegal.
According to Sheldon Eisenberg, a legal expert, Swaylove.org posted “The 1st amendment of the Constitution of the United States gives each and every citizen the freedom of speech, the right to complain, the right to petition and redress i.e. demand abuses are addressed. This right can in no way be trampled on by anyone, let alone by a bureaucrat within a tax-payer funded animal shelter. If a shelter manager claims otherwise, they are LYING. If a “volunteer agreement contract” makes you state that you “shall not talk,” it has no justification under the law to make such a claim. This is a breach of a person’s most fundamental and important right, and if shelter managers are still parading around as if they hold this power, they just haven’t had their bluff called in a court of law. They have no power or claim over this right, end of story, period. “
There is a protest planned for February 13 at the Miami Dade Animal Shelter. There will be more information about the protest on the Facebook page of “The Hidden Truth Behind the Bars of Miami Dade Animal Shelter.”
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