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Save Our Seabirds' Lee Fox: 'The board fired me.'

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  • | 4:00 a.m. May 9, 2013
Lee Fox began treating injured birds in 1987 on a volunteer basis.
Lee Fox began treating injured birds in 1987 on a volunteer basis.
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Save Our Seabirds founder Lee Fox says she was fired from the bird-rescue organization.

Fox sent out a news release Thursday morning that said her termination “comes in the midst of accusations that she was not fulfilling her duties, which is difficult to imagine in light of her having successfully developed and built PSRC (Pinellas Seabird Rehabilitation Center Inc.) and SOS into substantial, renowned organizations in the realm of bird care.”

“The board fired me,” Fox said in the statement. “They are hijacking the organization that I built over years by hard work … They threw me out without just cause and want to keep the reputation and good will of SOS for themselves.”

“ … If you look at the website now, you will see that they are changing the basic objective of Save Our Seabirds, which was to help injured and sick birds. Now, it looks like only about 5% of their activity will be directed toward physically helping birds.”

SOS CEO David Pilston described Fox’s status as an “internal personnel matter” and said he disagreed with many points in the news release, although he declined to discuss specifics.

“The mission of Save Our Seabirds has not changed one iota,” he said. “We have a great team in place, and we will continue in our mission.

The Longboat Observer was unable to reach Fox immediately for comment.

Fox began doing volunteer bird-rescue work in 1987 and founded SOS in 1990. She operated a facility in St. Petersburg and, later, out of her home in Wimauma before securing a lease from the city of Sarasota in 2008 for the vacant former Pelican Man’s Bird Sanctuary.

She previously served as executive director but states in the news release that her role was reduced to chief medical administrator in mid-2012 as part of an internal reorganization.

Fox will continue caring for injured and sick birds out of Wimauma and plans to build relationships with other local organizations, according to the release.

For more information, pick up a May 16 copy of the Longboat Observer.

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].


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