From the Humane Society of Harford County:
A bright future for the Humane Society of Harford County (HSHC) emerges as the new 19,000 square-foot shelter takes shape on the existing site in Fallston. As HSHC prepares for the transition to the new state-of-the-art facility, the Board of Directors will also begin seeking a new leader to continue moving the organization forward.
For the last seven years, Mary Leavens, current HSHC executive director, provided leadership, guidance and support for 23 staff members and hundreds of volunteers at the shelter. As of April 10, 2015, she will be stepping down as executive director to pursue other opportunities. While at the shelter, she and her dedicated team, through the support and encouragement of Harford County, the Board of Directors and the community, achieved success in raising awareness of the humane treatment of all Harford County stray, homeless and neglected animals.
“I have enjoyed a position in which I was able to serve the animals and their caregivers while not spending one moment where work felt like work,” reflected Leavens. “With confidence and pride, I can now move on to new opportunities knowing that the Board of Directors, future executive director and staff, along with a team of dedicated volunteers, will lead this shelter to realize more successes on behalf of our animals. Although I will no longer serve as the executive director, I will always remain a supporter and believer in the mission of the HSHC.”
During her tenure, Leavens worked to empower her staff to affect change allowing the shelter to expand services and realize unprecedented success in saving the lives of Harford County’s at-risk animals. In March 2015, HSHC was awarded the Best Charity/Nonprofit in Harford County for the second consecutive year as part of the Best in Harford County Award program run by Harford Magazine, a subsidiary of the Baltimore Sun Media Group.
“Our life-saving work is not just about meeting critical needs and providing nurturing care for the animals who are left in our care, it’s about supporting the people of this community,” said Leavens. “The Soldier who is preparing to deploy to Iraq with no one to care for his animal, a woman in foreclosure about to lose her home and can’t afford to support her beloved pet, the saddened child who lost their kitten — these are the faces of the people we passionately work to support through their most difficult times each and every day.”
No matter the reason for abandonment, the temperament or the health of the animal, HSHC welcomes all animals with open arms. As an open admission shelter, HSHC accepts all animals and does not discriminate against the animals based on age, breed, condition, size, temperament or health, as well as those who suffered severe abuse and neglect. An average of 12 animals per day, or 4,500 per year, arrive at the shelter through Harford County residents or Harford County Animal Control.
“On behalf of the HSHC Board of Directors, we are grateful to Mary for her dedicated and tireless service to the animals and the community,” stated Elliot Kleinman, president, HSHC Board of Directors. “Mary made great strides with her team to increase adoption rates, created efficiencies despite the shelter’s aging infrastructure and increased community support. Mary built an amazing team, leaving the shelter in a great place to move forward. The Board now plans to conduct a nationwide search for a viable replacement to lead HSHC into the future.”
Supporting the animals and the community
Providing shelter and care for Harford County’s lost, stray, abandoned and neglected animals, the HSHC gives hope to animals and support to families every day. HSHC continues to expand services, add efficiencies and, most importantly, provide genuine love and compassion for Harford County’s most vulnerable animals, as well as animal caregivers.
HSHC works diligently to reunite owners with lost pets, encouraging pet owners to file a lost pet report or a found pet report as soon as possible. HSHC returns approximately 500 animals to their owners each year. Through the passionate work of HSHC staff, a mourning community member was recently reunited with their lost cat, three years after the animal went missing.
In addition to reuniting pets with owners and adoption efforts, HSHC works with a network of animal rescue groups throughout the mid-Atlantic, as well as foster families, to rehabilitate and find homes for dogs, cats, rabbits and other barnyard animals.
In 2013, the HSHC opened a satellite adoption center, Rescue Me! at Harford Mall, the region’s first deluxe cat adoption center and boutique located in a shopping mall. As a result of this effort, more than 450 felines found their forever home with loving families through adoption at this site.
With the “Gimme Shelter” capital campaign gaining momentum, the shelter continues to rely on the support of the community to raise the remaining funds to build the new facility. The animals, along with the staff and volunteers who care for them, plan to move into their new shelter in late October 2015.
For more information on the Humane Society of Harford County, visit the website at www.harfordshelter.org, connect with HSHC on Facebook or Twitter, or call the shelter at (410) 836-1090.