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Stella Hanly Named Executive Director of Alexandria Animal Welfare League

"By expanding our Community Programs department, we hope to help our community address issues that may lead to surrender so that cherished pets can stay in their homes — where they belong,” says Hanly.

Stelly Hanly to lead as Executive DIrector at AWLA. (Courtesy photo)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) just announced that Stella Hanly, MPA, will be their new Executive Director starting immediately. Hanly will oversee management of the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter, the city’s open-admission animal care facility, as well as Alexandria’s Animal Services.

Hanly has worked at the AWLA for nearly four years, beginning as the Community Programs Liaison in 2015 and serving most recently as Chief Operating Officer and Acting Executive Director.  Prior to the AWLA, she worked at the Washington Humane Society (now part of the Humane Rescue Alliance), overseeing its Community and Volunteer Programs.  Hanly earned her master’s Degree in Public Administration from George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government in 2013.

Jeff Lutton, Chair of the AWLA’s Board of Directors, said that Hanly was the clear choice to manage the AWLA, which touches the lives of over 6,000 animals every year.  “Stella’s knowledge of the AWLA and animal welfare makes her the ideal candidate for this position, and her ongoing work with community programs will help her grow the AWLA’s outreach efforts to care for animals in need not only at the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter but also across the City of Alexandria.”

Did You Know About ‘Meals on Wheels’ for Alexandria’s Pets?

The AWLA currently offers many programs to connect with and assist pet owners in the community, including Animeals (providing food and resources to pets of seniors participating in the Meals on Wheels program); Crisis Care (to provide Alexandria residents with short-term pet care in emergencies like hospitalization or housing crises); and the AWLA’s Pet Pantry (offering pet food and supplies to residents in need).

Golden Retriever Puppies. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

“No pet should be separated from his or her owner because of health issues or finances,” says Hanly.  “Animals provide so much support to their owners during crises, and we want to help more pets stay with their families when they are needed most.  By expanding our Community Programs department, we hope to help our community address issues that may lead to surrender so that cherished pets can stay in their homes — where they belong.”

To realize this goal, Hanly will work with the team at the AWLA to offer Pet Pantries in locations throughout Alexandria where they can be more easily accessed by pet owners who need them.  She also plans to work with local veterinarians to find solutions for low-income owners whose pets need medical support; expand the footprint of the Spay and Neuter Assistance program currently offered by the AWLA; and manage regular in-community Pet Care Fairs offering free vaccinations, grooming, behavioral advice and supplies for dogs and cats.  Funds to expand these programs will come from a generous donation from the Anne Cabaniss Trust, and the AWLA will continue to seek corporate support to expand the care offered in and out of the shelter.

Hanley’s Love of Animals

A love of animals starts close to home for Hanly.  Hanly’s dog Rupert, rescued from a shelter in Atlanta where she previously lived, regularly comes to work with her and joins in on important meetings when a helping paw is needed.  His presence reminds her every day that it takes a whole community to save an animal.

“The team here at the AWLA are skilled, compassionate animal welfare professionals, and Alexandria is one of the most animal-loving communities I’ve seen,” says Hanly.  “I’m honored to oversee the AWLA and will work every day to help Alexandria continue to be one of the best cities in the country for animals…and for the people who love them.”

Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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