El Pasoans react to Humane Society Executive Director accused of stealing money


    El Paso Humane Society Executive Director, Luke Westerman accused of stealing peoples' money. (KFOX 14-file photo).

    Saturday the 5th, marks the first adoption event hosted by El Paso's Humane Society—since KFOX investigates uncovered its executive director has allegedly ripped people off out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Some said they're shocked to hear what’s going on, but are opening their minds and hearts to putting the needs of animals first.

    Animal lovers come in many forms, but their love may be all the same—pure.

    "Well he's been talking about getting a puppy for a while now,” said Michelle Smith. “I want a dog too."

    Michelle Smith and her family adopted their new puppy Anne from El Paso's Humane Society on Saturday.

    “It's not their fault, it's not their fault,” said Smith.

    Despite finding out El Paso's Humane Society’s Executive Director has been caught allegedly stealing people's money, Smith says that doesn't matter to them.

    "We love animals,” said Smith.

    She said what’s important is giving an animal a home.

    "I don't blame the Humane Society, I don't even blame the animals,” said Smith. “That was one guy who just screwed up.”

    John Velasquez who is fostering through the society right now, feels the same.

    "I think it's important to put the animals first because, that's who we're there to support not necessarily the staff,” said Velasquez.

    It doesn't sit well for Natalie Woods, thinking about how the executive director of the society might not be honest with money.

    "We've established things like the Humane Society so that dogs who are in harm’s way, or don't have places to go, don't have food to eat...and that money, people are coming out of their pockets,” said Woods.

    But still, she doesn't believe in punishing those who aren't involved—and stands with others.

    "That kind of breaks my heart,” said Woods.

    Others told KFOX 14 they might be hesitant to donate money to the Humane Society itself, but did still seem willing to give support in other ways.

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