“You’re Not Here for the Money or Glory”

Safe Animal Shelter welcomes new director

By Nick Blank nick@opcfla.com
Posted 10/27/21

MIDDLEBURG – To new Safe Animal Shelter Executive Director Lynne Dougherty, every single animal has a different story and needs when it comes to care.

Dougherty takes over for Sherry Mansfield, …

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“You’re Not Here for the Money or Glory”

Safe Animal Shelter welcomes new director

Posted

MIDDLEBURG – To new Safe Animal Shelter Executive Director Lynne Dougherty, every single animal has a different story and needs when it comes to care.

Dougherty takes over for Sherry Mansfield, who oversaw the shelter for six years. Mansfield improved the shelter considerably by implementing programs and fundraising while shepherding the shelter through two hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic, Dougherty said.

Now Dougherty said she wants to uphold the quality of service.

“Sherry’s been here for six years and has been the face of the shelter,” Dougherty said. “She put her heart and soul into it.”

Living in the region since 1998, Dougherty’s experience has taken her from several nonprofits to the City of Jacksonville and the United Services Organizations in Jacksonville. A pet owner for several years, she said she is aware of the importance of the shelter to care for the animals.

“I do believe in the adopt not shop philosophy,” Dougherty said. “There’s always some reason they are not in a home.”

The shelter has about 16 staff and between 20 and 30 volunteers. The volunteer program and fundraising campaigns are two key aspects of running the shelter beside the day-to-day activities, Dougherty said. Increasing space for animals is also on the shelter’s radar.

She added that a new person in a management-type role usually needs three to six months to establish what works and what doesn’t.

“It’s not uncommon for the staff to take animals home. These folks here are a family,” Dougherty said. “You’re not here for the money or glory. You’re here for what the mission is.”

A recent Facebook post about a broken washing machine at Safe led to a donation in a short amount of time, Dougherty said. Next thing she knew, the shelter’s needs were taken care of.

“Most people aren’t aware of the sheer amount of laundry done here,” Dougherty said. “[The new machine] was from some small Facebook post. We have such a giving community in Clay. We really do.”

Several of the animals have been through hardships and it’s the shelter’s job to be a temporary loving home before they find a full-time loving home. With pets, there is always a humane way to treat them, Dougherty said.

“They know when there’s someone who loves them, compared to someone who’s treated them badly,” Dougherty said. “We usually don’t know the hell they’ve been through.”

More information about how to donate is available at (904) 375-9122 or by visiting safeanimalshelter.com.

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