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HRA President & CEO, Lisa LaFontaine, Elected Board Chairman for The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement

The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement (formerly the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators) announced today that Humane Rescue Alliance President & CEO, Lisa LaFontaine, was elected as the organization’s next Board Chairman.

AAWA is an international network of professionals who actively lead and manage community animal shelters and animal control agencies and develop and promote industry best practices for cultivating collaboration in the animal welfare profession.

LaFontaine succeeds Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society, as Board Chairman and will serve a term of two years.

“The Association helps set the bar for excellence in animal welfare; it creates connections between people and facilitates individual growth and impact,” said LaFontaine. “I’m thrilled to work with so many talented and compassionate people who have both wisdom and knowledge to share, and I am particularly proud of AAWA’s collaborative approach in a profession that inspires passion, and profoundly affects so many animals and people.”

LaFontaine has led HRA since the merger two years ago between the Washington Humane Society and Washington Animal Rescue League in our nation’s capital. HRA is the sole provider of services in the nation’s capital, including sheltering, adoptions, animal control, community medicine, and humane law enforcement.  

In the two years following the merger, LaFontaine has worked to build a coalition of animal welfare and wildlife advocates to create a scientifically-based project to count every cat in DC in the hopes of developing non-lethal strategies for managing community cat populations; worked with the DC City Council to establish a new standard of care for animals; added a new mobile veterinary clinic to HRA’s medical program; and launched a partnership with the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine to provide students with practical experience while helping to alleviate the national shortage of qualified veterinarians; and created the Help Out, Partner, and Engage (HOPE) program, an initiative designed to support pet owners in caring for their animals in areas with less medical and care resources.

LaFontaine came to the Washington Humane Society (WHS) as president and CEO in 2007. At WHS, she significantly increased the live release rate for animals from one of the lowest to one of the highest in the country. She also advocated for greater animal protection through innovative programs and changes in law, and built critical relationships with DC’s diverse interests and communities on behalf of animals in need. Prior to her work with WHS, LaFontaine was the CEO of New Hampshire’s Monadnock Humane Society. At Monadnock, she spearheaded a successful capital campaign that resulted in the construction of a new, state-of-the-art animal welfare facility and an expanded endowment fund for the organization.


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