Allison Mitchell is the new shelter manager for the Franklin County Humane Society (FCHS).
Mitchell began her career with the shelter as a dog caretaker in the kennels.
“Allison’s enthusiasm and work ethic quickly earned the trust of shelter pets, volunteers and staff,” said Susie Blatt, board president.
Mitchell spent the last two years learning about all facets of shelter operations. She has worked in fundraising, volunteer coordination, medical services and most recently was the assistant shelter manager.
“I wanted to work at FCHS because I have grown up around animals,” she said. “My grandparents raised Dalmatians and I’ve always ridden horses, so animals have been an important part of my life.”
Mitchell has two dogs, Nellie, adopted from FCHS, and Charlie, adopted from another shelter. She also has a horse named Clyde.
A 2014 graduate of St. Francis Borgia Regional High School, Mitchell received her associate degree from East Central College.
“I have lived all over Franklin County, including Berger, Washington, Krakow and Labadie, so I know the area and the challenges that we have with homeless pets,” she said.
Mitchell recently attended the Midwest Animal Sheltering Conference hosted by the shelter medicine program at the University of Missouri. The conference offered ideas and resources for challenges facing all shelters such as: saving more animal lives, enriching cat enclosures to reduce pet stress and reducing length of stay for homeless animals.
“My priority is to expand or remodel our shelter building to better serve the increase we are experiencing in homeless animals,” she said. “A larger building, or my true dream a . . a new location and building, would help us save and serve more animals.”
The current FCHS shelter has been open since 1994. A group of volunteers started it in 1981 as a network of foster families.
Previous shelter manager Erin Marler decided to return to her role as shelter bookkeeper.
“I am grateful for Erin’s advice and knowledge as I navigate the challenges of managing operations at the shelter,” said Mitchell, who has already experienced the turbulent world of running a shelter. On Sept. 30, the shelter received 16 homeless animals, all with different stories and circumstances.
Blatt said 16 pets in one day is a large number to manage, but Mitchell met the challenge and took action to get each one on a path to adoption.
Mitchell’s hard work was rewarded Oct. 26 when FCHS adopted 17 pets into new families in one day.
“We are grateful to the community, our volunteers and staff for working together to make adoptions happen,” she said.
FCHS provides temporary shelter for an average of 100 pets each day. This year the shelter has adopted out 45 percent more dogs than last year and 25 percent more cats.
“New shelter policies and leadership have resulted in more dogs and cats finding forever homes,” Blatt said.
So far this year, FCHS has found homes for over 835 pets and returned over 230 lost animals to their owners.