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Humane Society director resigns

Stephen Drynan departs to focus on a new challenge in Madras


by: BILL MINTIENS - Humane Society adoption event at Rite Aid on Dec. 4th (left to right) Raelyn Taylor, Maranda Taylor, Sue Netsch, Margret Langer, Amber Smith, and Mudders (the dog).

Stephen Drynan was hired as the Executive Director of the Humane Society of the Ochocos (HSO) about a year ago.

Only a year later, he has left the shelter to focus his efforts and passion in his hometown of Madras.

Drynan has been named the Executive Director of the Three Rivers Humane Society in Madras. Formerly known as the Jefferson County Kennels, the new name is the result of a contract awarded by Jefferson County to the Central Oregon Animal Friends (COAF), a non-profit established by Drynan in 2012.

At the time of his hire, the HSO was not in the best shape financially or physically.

HSO Board Director Bill Zelenka remembers the time well.

“Prior to Steve coming on board, the shelter was running out of money. It was an overwhelming situation. He did a heck of a lot by focusing on the operational aspects of the shelter.”

Drynan is credited with adding value to an inexperienced board during his tenure at the HSO.

“It was a nice marriage because Steve (Drynan) had the knowledge of actual shelter operations and fundraising; the board had organizational skills to help make things work efficiently,” said Zelenka.

Drynan’s passion for helping animals stimulated him to try to help the Jefferson County Kennels (JCK). Earlier this year, his non-profit submitted a bid to Jefferson County to take over the care and administration of the JCK.

The bid was accepted and Drynan could not have been more pleased.

“We could not be more excited and grateful for this opportunity,” said Drynan in an earlier interview.

But this presented a problem for the board of the HSO.

“Steve wanted to operate both shelters, but we (the board) didn’t want to operate both. The current board is still pretty new and we were still in the process of organizing ourselves,” said Zelenka.

Drynan made the decision to step away from the HSO to concentrate his skills and talents on establishing a good home for dogs in his hometown.

“We have many plans to create a welcoming community shelter where individuals and families can find their new family member.”

Drynan is leaving the HSO much better than when he arrived.

“We’re in pretty good shape financially. We still need to build up our reserves after a couple of large dog and cat rescues. And PetsMart and Petco have been very good partners, adoption-wise, with us. Our numbers (of animals) are manageable right now,” said Zelenka.

HSO Shelter Manager Amber Smith agrees that they are in good shape now and that much of that credit goes to Drynan.

“Steve got us on track and I’m really happy that he’s now able to help them (Jefferson County Kennels) out because they were not in good shape.”

The Board of the HSO is going to meet soon and decide what steps to take to fill the void left by Drynan’s departure.

“At our next Board meeting we’ll be talking about where to go from here, how we’re going to operate things. Amber (Smith) is doing a terrific job of operating things on a day-to-day basis, but now we need to figure out how to continue the grant-writing, the business operation side, and other things,” said Zelenka.

The HSO has paid staff and a number of volunteers to rely on.

“We have a lot of dedicated volunteers, about 30 to 40 regulars and probably 150 overall. Our paid staff numbers five, three full-time and two part-time,” said Smith.

The HSO has plans to expand educational programs and is very appreciative of the community support received over the past year.

“Education-wise we’d like to expand on our spay and neuter programs going forward. And we’ve had some pretty good luck with items donated by the community. We’re also very appreciative of the many foster families that have stepped up. We’ve got a pretty good foster family list together for the next puppy and kitten season so we’re ready for whatever happens,” said Zelenka.




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