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.JENNIFER AND HER DOGS

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.