Flanagan named DelCo SPCA chief

The Delaware County SPCA has a new executive director. Kerry Flanagan, a Chester County native and current vice president of operations for the Humane League of Lancaster County, takes over the leadership role at the shelter in January.

At the Humane League, Flanagan helped develop spay/neuter programs, increase adoptions, reduce the rate of euthanasia and strengthen community partnerships. Previously she was a kennel technician and later kennel coordinator at the Chester County SPCA. Flanagan developed an interest in animal welfare while volunteering with the Feral Cat Coalition in San Diego.

Flanagan said building stronger community relationships and developing new partnerships are among her top priorities and she plans to hold at least one public meeting to get community input.

"I know everyone would like a better shelter for the animals," she said. "We need to figure out what the shelter's role is going to be in animal control, and how to combat animal cruelty in the area. We want to reduce euthanasia of adoptable animals, through increased adoptions and rescue placements."

Flanagan's appointment after a six-month search comes amid controversy over a steep increase in fees (from roughly $20 to $116) the SPCA has instituted to cover the care of strays picked up in 49 Delaware muncipalities.

For more on the ongoing efforts to improve conditions and care at the shelter read the recent Delaware County Times story here.