The new executive director of the Red Deer and District SPCA wants to raise the profile of the animal shelter in the community.
Tara Heppell officially took over the reins this week from outgoing executive director Julie McInnis, who retired recently. Heppell said the shelter is running smoothly and she has no plans to change operations.
“Our big focus has to be on raising more money,” said Heppell. “Trying to increase our profile will help with our donations. We will be building further relationships with donors in the community.”
One of the first orders of business for Heppell is to increase and formalize the monthly animal adoption drives. The SPCA website will be re-developed to make it more user friendly to allow viewers to get a better look at the animals up for adoption.
There’s room for 150 felines at capacity but these days there are 175 felines because it is kitten season. There’s between 30 or 40 cats in foster homes, and 40 to 100 cats on the list to get into the shelter.
“The more support we can receive through fundraising, the more that we can increase our programming,” she said.
Heppell has a background in marketing and fundraising. She was the development manager at Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter for five years. She was on the SPCA board of directors and co-chaired the SPCA capital campaign for a year in 2003.
“It’s such an amazing facility for those people who haven’t seen it, we just have to get them in the door and see what we’re doing,” she said.
Visit the SPCA website at www.reddeerspca.com