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Animal Rescue Foundation co-founder Elaine La Russa posted a statement on social media Saturday night saying her family has pulled out of the Walnut Creek-based animal welfare rescue foundation it started three decades ago.
“It is with the utmost sadness that we decided to join with Tony, and formally resign from the Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation Board of Directors,” Elaine La Russa wrote, in a Facebook post. “The La Russa family has collectively concluded that we cannot support or participate in ARF’s current leadership.
“We hope that our withdrawal from the board and organization will prompt renewed focus on careful stewardship of the foundation and its mission. Until we see significant change, we are stepping away from ARF and will dedicate our passion, time and resources to aid other animal welfare organizations. We remain hopeful that with meaningful changes, ARF can return to the mission and ideas upon which our family founded it thirty years ago.”
The statement, which didn’t name any specific changes that were needed, was signed by La Russa and her daughter, Bianca La Russa.
Tony La Russa — the former Oakland A’s manager who now manages the Chicago White Sox — as of Monday was still listed as chairman of ARF’s board of directors. Elaine and Bianca La Russa were no longer listed as board members. Other members of the 12-person board include Danville attorney Gregory McCoy, San Francisco attorney Morgan Forsey, Nestle Purina PetCare executive Steve Degnan; Kevin Fick, the CEO of pet products company Worldwise Inc., and retired Intuit executive Jennifer Hall.
The La Russas founded ARF after Tony famously corralled a stray cat from the field at the Oakland Coliseum during a game in 1990. He discovered afterward there were a lack of no-kill animal shelters in the Bay Area, so he and wife Elaine started one in Walnut Creek. ARF now resides in a large shelter and community center in Shadelands Business Park and has given homes to more than 44,000 dogs and cats., according to its website.