August 16, 2010
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is pleased to announce that Neil Trent will join the organization as Executive Director in September 2010. Neil brings over 30 years of experience in international, national and local animal welfare. He is currently the Executive Director of the Longmont Humane Society in Longmont, Colorado.
Neil Trent has been at Longmont Humane for less than two years, but if he can convert AWLA into an organization like LHS, the AWLA Board will have dramatically improved the prospects for Arlington’s homeless companion animals.
Here are a few reasons for optimism:
- LHS took in 2000 cats and over 2000 dogs in 2009, compared with 1357 cats and 900 dogs for AWLA. So the new Director won’t have to worry about challenges related to scale as he addresses AWLA’s cultural deficiencies.
- LHS publishes its Asilomar animal outcomes statistics on its website, making it easy to track its progress in saving homeless cats and dogs. There is no more important step an animal shelter can take toward improving its performance.
- LHS has two staff veterinarians. AWLA could have prevented considerable suffering on the part of its animals and countless hours of unnecessary driving, waiting, and stress on the part of its volunteers if it had been willing to invest in in-house veterinary care.
- LHS extends its foster program to adult cats and dogs, not just kittens and puppies. AWLA’s foster program barely exists today.
- According to ShelterWatch.org, LHS ranks 5th out of the 49 open-admission shelters listed in its rate of dog adoptions, and 15th out of 48 shelters in its rate of cat adoptions. AWLA’s dogs need more help than its cats.
- LHS has a Tr/Eu (transferred/euthanized) ratio for dogs of .74, which is above average for the shelters listed on ShelterWatch. Its Tr/Eu for cats is an anemic .07, but that may be partially attributable to a preference for dogs over cats in Boulder Valley, Colorado.
And there are no doubt additional reasons for optimism.
We would be remiss if we didn’t applaud the effort that AWLA’s Chairman personally invested in the search for a new Executive Director. There have been other recent signs of progress at AWLA — a meeting with rescue groups in July, an offsite dog-adoption event last weekend — but nothing demonstrates a commitment to change like a comprehensive search for new leadership. We’re gratified and impressed that AWLA’s Board didn’t take the easy way out by hiring someone with prior connections to the organization. Instead they executed a national search and were able to attract a candidate with impressive credentials.
Next month the work begins. If Neil Trent is as capable as Bonney Brown at Nevada Humane, he’ll likely pursue many of the same steps that she outlines in her summary of how NHS became one of the country’s most effective open-admission shelters.
Given Arlington’s much smaller scale and AWLA’s resources, the job should be easier here. Welcome, Neil. We’re eagerly awaiting the start of the transformation.