I want to introduce myself to the supporters, donors, volunteers, and staff of Stray Hearts Animal Shelter (SHAS). My name is Jennifer Gfeller and I am the new Executive Director for the organization.
I am so happy to be here. My entire career has been spent in the animal welfare field. For the past three years, I was the Animal Shelter Director for Junction City, Kansas. Before that, I spent three years as a trainer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, UT. I am a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior and hold a Bachelor's Degree from Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS in Animal Science and Industry.
The 24th cannot come soon enough. I am so anxious to get started. Diane Padoven, the acting Executive Director for the past nine months, laughingly describes her tenure at Stray Hearts this way. "We were the MASH unit who stabilized the patient. Now we are ready for the surgeon to take over!" What a compliment to me. But in those nine months they accomplished the following:
- On August 15th, 2016, the shelter housed 115 dogs (31 over capacity) and 80 cats (30 over ideal). We have averaged 72 dogs and 20 cats since October 1st, 2016.
- In August 2016 our average Length of Stay (LOS) for our animals was 62.2 days. From September 2016-March 2017 the average LOS was 31.7 days
- Even more exciting; from Dec 2016 through today, LOS was just 17.8 days.
- Our current Live Release Rate is 94%, (3% from euthanasia)
- September-March- Adoptions=572, Transfers=391, Return to Owners=127
- Every animal in the shelter has beenSpayed or Neutered
- Animals are no longer allowed to leave the shelter without being altered, and we have caught up with the over 350 animals in the old Foster-to-Adopt Program.
But I won't be successful without your help. A major priority for me must be fundraising. I have learned that the Stray Hearts budget is $56k per month. And the impressive results from the most recent Radiothon campaign ($75k) in reality only equals two months of operating income (including the government contract fees.) We have two months before our next major fundraiser and our cash flow is running low. There is so much that I want to do, so many ideas I have that I want to implement.
It is only through your generous gifts that Stray Hearts Animal Shelter is able to be there for the lost, abandoned & unwanted animals of Taos.
Please, if you possibly can, send a gift for the animals today and give me the resources necessary to do my job.
We’ll put your gift to work right away saving innocent lives and ensuring the shelter operates with excellence—that’s my promise!
We remain grateful for all of your support and accept donations whichever way is most convenient for you: you may click here to use the Paypal link on the home page of strayhearts.org; phone our office at (575) 758-2981 with a credit card; mail a check made out to Stray Hearts Animal Shelter at PO Box 622, Taos, New Mexico 87571; or through your company employees' community giving program.
Thank you in advance for your generosity for the animals! I hope to meet you very, very soon.
STRAY HEARTS HIRES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
March 14, 2017 - Taos, New Mexico – The Humane Society of Taos, Inc. dba Stray Hearts Animal Shelter (SHAS) announces Jennifer Gfeller as its new executive director.
Effective April 24th, Gfeller comes to SHAS from Junction City, KS where she served for the past three years as their Animal Shelter Director. Prior to Junction City, Jennifer spent three years as a trainer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, UT. She has extensive experience with animals and is a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS in Animal Science and Industry.
“During my brief visit to Taos, I fell in love with the community and unique culture. I am thrilled that I have the opportunity to bring my shelter knowledge and experience to Stray Hearts. I feel that the Board of Directors and I will make a powerful lifesaving impact for the community of Taos,” said Gfeller. “My biggest goal will be to shorten the average length of stay for the animals in our care. This can be accomplished by transporting animals to no-kill rescues, developing a foster care program and reaching a wider adoption audience,” she added.
“Jennifer brings to SHAS all of the important qualities we have been seeking in an executive director,” said Pam Miller, president of the Board of Directors. “Her record of innovation, accomplishment, and leadership is a perfect fit. On behalf of the Board, we are confident that Jennifer is the right person at the right time to lead our staff and volunteers, and promote the welfare of our pets as we help them find forever homes.”
During Jennifer's tenure at the Junction City Shelter, she increased the Live Release Rate from 60% to 97%, increased adoption rates by 25%, created an evaluation process to assess behavior and health of each animal upon intake, evaluated, proposed, and executed enhancements to daily operations and customer service to make every customer and donor experience exceptional, among her many other accomplishments.
Diane Padoven, Acting Executive Director, will continue to lead the shelter for the next six weeks until Jennifer's start date of April 24th. Diane and Jennifer will work together for a short time to ensure a smooth transition of leadership can occur. "It has been an honor to serve the shelter in the interim role for the past eight months," Padoven stated. "While we have accomplished a lot, having someone with Jennifer's extensive experience in the animal shelter world is the best thing that has happened to Stray Hearts in a very long time," Padoven added.
Jennifer will be spending the next six weeks transitioning the Junction City shelter to their next ED and conducting house-hunting trips for her and her four dogs here in Taos. She will initially focus her time on shelter operations at SHAS and then add donor relations, fundraising, and strategic planning to her list of priorities.
"We spent four months interviewing candidates for this position and, after an exhaustive search, selected the person we think is the perfect choice for Taos," said Donna Storch, board member. "Jennifer is an experienced shelter director, a strong leader, an animal trainer, and a really nice person. We are so glad she will be the next Executive Director of SHAS," concluded Kay Kimmel, board member.