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The popular Facebook unofficial page of the Baldwin Park Animal Shelter, which has been instrumental in increasing the adoption rate of animals, will continue to operate despite the recent firing of volunteer and page administrator, Ric Browde.
On December 27, Browde announced on his blog that he had been dismissed from his post as volunteer with the Baldwin Park Animal Shelter.
According to a letter sent by the Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC), which Browde posted on his blog, the reasons for the dismissal were violations of department policy and for making "threats" against DACC staff .
However, Browde told Patch yesterday that he believes the reason for the separation is his open criticism of DACC administration.
"I see a violation of my First Amendment," said Browde.
"We are dealing with a bureaucracy that does not like transparency. When challenged, they circled the wagons and protected their turf," he added.
Browde's Facebook page has more than 10,000 followers and has been instrumental in reducing euthanasia rates in shelters in Baldwin Park and Downey.
On January 3, a post in the Facebook page stated they were concerned that the DACC could request to shut down the page, so he decided to rename it "Friends of the Baldwin Park Animal Shelter," to clarify that it was not the official website.
DACC spokeswoman Evelina Villa confirmed to Patch the reasons cited in the letter for Browde's separation, adding that at no time the institution has tried to silence the Facebook page he manages.
However, she argued that like any government agency, they have to be careful about what is published in pages that are not affiliated with the institution, but bear its name.
"I think they've changed the name. We will always allow people to take pictures of animals [for adoption]," Villa said. "We are not asking them to stop doing what they do, if anything, there has been some miscommunication."
Browde said he will continue to update the page with the pictures and videos taken by volunteers to show them on the social network.
"This Facebook page is about adoptions," said Browde. "Our work and effort will continue."