Heidi Yates pulled a chair out from under her office table and discovered new “shelter cat” Christine curled up on its seat. “A shelter has to have a shelter cat,” said Yates, as she pulled out another chair for herself. The new executive director of Cherryland Humane Society has been on the job fewer than four weeks but already it’s clear that changes — big changes — are in store for the nonprofit that has received increasing criticism for its resistance to just that.
“I’m pretty aggressive about change,” said Yates, who already “tweaked” the adoption application, started “pet partnerships” for off-site adoptions at places like Pets Naturally and PetSmart, and reached out to area vets and animal rescue groups to establish new relationships.
One of Yates’ main goals is to test incoming animals for certain viruses and diseases and to micro-chip and sterilize outgoing animals before they’re adopted.
“Those are what I feel is standard. I feel they’re important not only for the adopter but for the animal. A goal is to help stop pet over-population,” said Yates, who also plans to organize a foster program and work toward a no-kill policy.
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