February 5, 2019 — The Pet Alliance of Washington Board is pleased to announce the election of Melanie Rushforth, executive director of Northwest Spay and Neuter Center; Lisa Feder, vice president and director of shelter operations of the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, Dr. Gene Mueller, manager of Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC); and Dawn Davies, executive director of Wenatchee Valley Humane Society. They will serve as chair, co-chair, secretary and treasurer of the Alliance respectively.
“Washington is proud to be a leader in saving the lives of animals, and it is our goal to strengthen, empower, and assist communities leading to sustainable solutions to regional challenges,” said Rushforth. “I am most excited about seeing the Alliance continue to grow in 2019. This year, the Pet Alliance of Washington will continue to assess the landscape of animal welfare throughout the state of Washington and use that information to connect organizations to one another to fulfill their cooperative missions, and ultimately save the lives of more cats and dogs.”
The Pet Alliance of Washington Board would like to recognize the commitment and transformative changes led by David Loewe, CEO and president of Seattle Humane, who served as board chair of the Alliance; and Taylor Sharp, Pacific Regional Specialist at Best Friends Animal Society during her time as secretary. The Board is grateful for ‘Loewe’s continued support as a member and congratulates Sharp in her new position with Humane Society Silicon Valley as Maddie’s Executive Leadership Fellow. The board would also like to welcome José Ocaño, Pacific Regional Director at Best Friends Animal Society, who will be joining as a member ‘to replace Sharp.
CHAIR: Melanie Rushforth is the executive director of ‘Northwest Spay and Neuter Center, Washington State’s largest non-profit spay and neuter clinic. NWSNC, located in Tacoma, has performed more than 100,000 surgeries since 2008, in turn saving millions of lives. She has worked in the non-profit sector for the last 20 years, after serving in the U.S. Army. Rushforth is the founder of the Tacoma City Kids Marathon, and currently volunteers as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for youth. She and her husband share their Tacoma home and heart with two dogs and three cats. Rushforth has one adult son.
CO-CHAIR: Lisa Feder, has served as the vice president and director of shelter operations at the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, an open-admission shelter in Clark County that cares for more than 8,000 animals each year since 2007. Prior to coming to HSSW, Feder worked at the Cleveland Animal Protective League as director of operations. Feder is a founding member of the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP), which collectively achieved a 94% live release rate in 2016. A self-proclaimed “animal welfare geek,” Feder is passionate about data collection and collaborative efforts to save lives. She achieved her Certification in Animal Welfare Administration (CAWA) in 2015.
SECRETARY: Gene Mueller, DVM, MPH, has been the manager of Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) since 2012. Gene previously led the Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center, that city’s largest critical-care veterinary hospital. He also served as president of the Anti-Cruelty Society, one of the nation’s oldest humane societies, located in Chicago. Mueller has extensive experience in the public sector, having led the Commission on Animal Care and Control for the City of Chicago, as well as serving as an epidemiologist and as director of environmental health with the Chicago Department of Public Health. He holds Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Public Health degrees from the University of Illinois. He began his career as a veterinarian in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette.
TREASURER: Dawn Davies joined the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society (WVHS) as a member of the board of directors in 2007. She served as president of the board in 2009, all the way through to 2011, when she stepped down from the board and into the role of executive director. Since then, Davies has lead led a number of successful projects, including the building of a new $3 million shelter. The new shelter opened its doors in June 2015. It sits on nearly 5 acres with outdoor play yards, a walking trail and barn. In 2017, she added a medical director to the team to provide services to shelter animals. The clinic expanded its services to provide low or no cost public Spay/Neuter services. Other programs include Pets For Life, Community Cats and Pet Food Bank. Dawn lives with her husband Philip on 5 acres, with 3 horses, 3 dogs and two AWOL barn buddies (Poncho and Lefty).
The Pet Alliance of Washington — a coalition of dedicated animal welfare organizations from across Washington State led by eleven public and private entities, including Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC), Seattle Humane Society (SHS), Humane Society for Southwest Washington (HSSW), Blue Mountain Humane Society, Wenatchee Valley Humane Society, South County Cats, Pasado’s Safe Haven, Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS), Kitsap Humane Society, Northwest Spay and Neuter Center, and Best Friends Animal Society (Best Friends) — was created to increase the lifesaving efforts of organizations in Washington State that provide care for homeless cats and dogs. With help from Best Friends, a national organization with deep experience improving animal outcomes, the Pet Alliance is committed to achieving a 90% live release rate for cats and dogs in Washington State by 2020, and helping all individual participating agencies to reach a live release rate of 90% by 2025.