PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The executive director of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society has resigned following a wave of criticism.

Joy Braunstein came under fire this week after news surfaced that she paid $1,000 for a purebred collie.

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While many criticize her for going against the Humane Society’s purpose, others say she didn’t do anything wrong and are sad to see her go.

“I understand why she stepped down. I would feel unsafe as well,” Anya Dobratz said.

Dobratz created a petition backing Braunstein.

“I saw her being attacked for purchasing a purebred dog. I felt that: A.) buying a purebred is definitely not a crime, and B.) nobody should lose their job because they bought a puppy,” Dobratz said.

But Braunstein felt it was in her best interest to resign on Friday.

A statement from Braunstein reads:

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“Given the present circumstances, I have made a personal choice to step away from The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society and resign my position effective immediately out of respect for my family and out of respect for the organization. I wish the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society well and will continue to be a supporter of the organization. At this time, I have not decided what I plan to do next professionally. Before I do, I plan to take some time with my family. I want to thank the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society for my time there and everyone else for their concern, but I have no further comment.”

Braunstein told KDKA that she filed harassment charges against two women after receiving death threats online.

Tara Vybiral created a petition to get Braunstein to step down or fired.

“I’m glad she did the right thing and didn’t have to be forced out. I was definitely pleased to hear that, and I think it’s a win for Humane Society,” Vybiral said.

“Just a proverbial straw that there were many things leading up to this, and a lot of people want to make it be just about this, but I would implore people to read the comments on the petition to see just how deep these roots run,” Vybiral added.

Former employees accuse Braunstein of reserving the more desirable breeds of dogs for high-profile adopters and subjecting the less desirable breeds to a new behavioral evaluation process that led to higher euthanasia rates.

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