What’s so special about April 9th, 2012, anyway? It’s not a national holiday. It’s probably not your birthday, your spouse’s, or one of your kid’s. And, thankfully, it’s not the deadline for filing your income taxes. So, why should all of us living in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin celebrate on April 9th, 2012?
Because that’s the day Dayna Kennedy officially assumes the position of Director of Operations at the Lakeshore Humane Society!
Well-known throughout the animal world, Kennedy helped turn UPAWS, a shelter near Marquette, Michigan around. During her tenure with UPAWS, Kennedy successfully saved companion animals from death at a rate of 96 percent, meaning less than 4 percent of the animals that entered the open admission shelter she ran were put down.
Kennedy’s success at UPAWS is often discussed by NathanWinograd, the founding father of the No-Kill Movement, in his public presentations. In fact Winograd, along with many other No-Kill advocates, considers Kennedy a pioneer in the Movement. And, it is possible that with Kennedy’s demonstrated success in Michigan, that at least some of the 350 shelters operating in Wisconsin that have the tools necessary to turn themselves around and evolve into No-Kill shelters like Upaws, will do so. Currently, Wisconsin only boasts of one nationally recognized No-Kill shelter, Elmbrook Humane Society in Brookfield, WI, but hopefully that will change as other shelters follow the example Kennedy is sure to set in this state.
When Kennedy begins serving the Lakeshore Humane Society as its Director, the shelter will start to adopt its way out of killing animals…something Kennedy’s experience with UPAWS proved is possible. With Kennedy at the helm, this community will have a shelter that works and staff members that care as much as their leader does…because Kennedy will accept nothing less for the animals, herself, and the No-Kill Movement.
While April 9th, 2012, really is a day we should all celebrate, the truth is our celebrations should have started about six months ago when Lakeshore Humane Society’s Board of Directors was elected. This board inherited a literal mess that included the Society’s horrible yet deserved reputation. And, this board has taken some very large, difficult steps to address the Society’s obvious internal and external problems. Hiring Kennedy is only the most recent of these steps.
The Lakeshore Humane Society’s current Board of Directors is probably the best one the Society’s membership has elected since the shelter opened its doors in 1970. And, we all need to remember that whatever success Kennedy is destined to have in our community would not have been possible if the board hadn’t hired her. The future success of Lakeshore Humane Society, the future evolution of the Society into a No-Kill facility, belongs to the board members as much as it will to Kennedy.
April 9th, 2012, is a date we should look forward to with great excitement because it’s going into the history books of Manitowoc County and the animal welfare world. It’s the date that will mark the beginning of Lakeshore Humane Society’s transformation from what was to what will be. It’s the date that will represent a victory for the No-Kill Movement because yet another shelter, our local Humane Society, will recognize that life is the only viable, desirable option for the animals between its walls.