Humane society searches for director

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, December 9, 2008

After two years at the helm of the Suffolk Humane Society, Angie Chandler is stepping down.

Chandler, the group’s executive director, said she will leave the position at the end of the year, although she is still passionate about the society’s mission.

“It’s been a couple of years, and we’re ready for the next exciting phase in Suffolk Humane’s timeline,” she said Tuesday.

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Chandler announced her decision in an e-mail last week to the society’s members. The search for a new executive director is on, she said.

The Suffolk Humane Society began about two years ago, with a meeting of about 25 people at Suffolk Animal Control. The group identified a number of animal welfare problems in the city, including euthanasia rates and the fact that Suffolk Animal Control, a subsidiary of the police department, was the only organization in the city working for the welfare of companion animals.

Another meeting, about three weeks later, drew about 15 people.

“We started signing up for committees that animal control thought would be helpful, and it just sort of developed from there,” Chandler said.

Since then, the organization has grown to about 300 members and volunteers. It sponsored visits from the Virginia Beach Neuter Scooter, held the first Mutt Strut, started an adoption program for cats at the Chesapeake Square PetSmart and participated in about 100 different events to get the word out about the humane society.

Now, it’s time for someone else to take over the helm, Chandler said.

“Surely there’s somebody out there that wants to take on the challenge,” she said.

The volunteer executive director is responsible for managing the operation of society programs, preparing the budget, developing plans and objectives, working as a liaison with Suffolk Animal Control and the city and other issues.

“It really is just management skills,” Chandler said. “It’s being able to deal with people, processes and programs.”

One big motivation for taking on the volunteer position is the passion for the welfare of animals in Suffolk, Chandler said.

“It’s highly charged,” she said. “People feel very strongly about animals.”

Any new person who steps up to the plate would not be alone, Chandler noted. There will be lots of help from Chandler and other members.

“I’m not going away,” she said. “I fully intend to help a new person grasp all this stuff.”

Anybody interested in the position — or in volunteering for Suffolk Humane in general — can call 374-1476 for more information.