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BRATTLEBORO — Maya Richmond will be the new Executive Director of the Windham County Humane Society (WCHS).

Richmond succeeds Annie Guion, in office since 2008.

COO Keri Roberts, a 19-year WCHS veteran, will continue in her role, as will board chair Julie Hamilton.

“We feel very lucky to have hired Maya,” Guion said. “She has extensive experience and has implemented wonderful progressive programs in her previous organizations.”

“As the first shelter in Vermont to offer affordable veterinary care, this kind of innovation is important to WCHS,” she continued. “She is very well aligned with WCHS philosophically, and we look forward to a smooth transition in leadership.”

Guion pointed out that Richmond, who had been executive director of the Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees, NJ since 2009, was overseeing the final construction of a new building there.

WCHS is on the cusp of a major building expansion “so we look forward to its input and expertise,” Guion said.

For Richmond, who grew up in eastern Calais, returning to Vermont after 18 years is a “coming home”.

“It’s pretty fun to be able to enjoy another chapter of my career near my home helping local animals,” she said. “We are incredibly lucky that WCHS and my organization both have a smooth transition. “

“So far I’ve been going back and forth, meeting the team and the board members,” Hamilton said. “The staff were so wonderful. They did so much during Covid to help the animals and were so welcoming to me. “

The new director, describing WCHS as “truly a great place with a huge heart,” said she was “honored to be trusted to carry on the great things Annie has started”.

Richmond has 18 years of animal welfare experience and has led incremental changes in its previous organizations.

A major business that it will deal with is a construction project. The current facility was built in 2000, and Guion noticed how drastically the field of animal welfare has changed since then.

“Covid has changed so many things, including animal welfare, so we are reviewing construction plans to make sure we are building the right facility for the future,” Guion said.

Towards a bigger building

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the animal welfare problem and in 2020, WCHS assisted a record 2,000 animals, taking in nearly 600 homeless animals and providing veterinary care to more than 1,400 local animals.

After an initial phase of the fundraising campaign, the organization purchased the property next to the current shelter. Now the goal is to raise $ 1.95 million to build an addition to the current facility. To date, WCHS has received approximately $ 1.2 million in donations and pledges, or about 62 percent of the budget.

Once the remaining necessary money is in hand, the existing facility will be renovated.

The plan includes improving laboratory, surgical and examination spaces and providing ‘benevolent assistance’ to protect people’s privacy, to separate incoming animals that have not yet been examined from those. returning home and adding quarantine space for animals transported from overcrowded shelters. .

The organization will also improve the admission area and provide best practice accommodation for stressed and sick animals; providing proven suitable spaces for cats, including a colony room and outdoor “catios”; improve the kennel spaces for dogs and expand outdoor dog yards; and modernize heating, cleaning and air handling systems.

Richmond received his BA from the University of Vermont and his MBA from St. Michael’s College. She worked at Middlebury College as Director of Animal Programs and Associate Director of Laboratory Support.

During this time, she served on the board of directors of the Addison County Humane Society and discovered her passion for animal welfare.

She was Director of Program Development and Operations at the Maryland SPCA from 2003-2009 before taking her most recent role with the Animal Welfare Association.

Guion and Richmond will work together throughout the fall to make a smooth transition.

Richmond will help lead the 18th Annual Walk for the Animals on Saturday, October 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., from the Grafton Village Cheese Company in the Retreat Farm complex on Linden Street (Route 30). To register, visit windhamcountyhumane.org.

“I think it’s great to meet more members of the community, and there is a lot to celebrate,” said Richmond.

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