AWL gets new director

Tribune Chronicle/ Bob Coupland The Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County has a new director, Gary Pilcher, holding Mimi, a domestic short-haired cat, left, with Kayley Frost, AWL shelter manager / volunteer coordinator, holding Dazzle, a 12-week-old cat.

VIENNA — Having served on the board at Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County for four months, Gary Pilcher has moved to a new position as executive director.

Pilcher will oversee day-to-day operations at the center as well as the staff, which includes Kayley Frost, shelter manager. He also wil report to the 18-member board of directors.

Pilcher, who started in May, said he has always liked animals and served as chairman of the Animal Charity Humane Society of Mahoning County and was also an Animal Welfare League board member.

When the director position became open, Pilcher was asked if he would be interested in serving.

Pilcher said the AWL has an ongoing relationship with Kent State University and the center has available space for veterinary technician students to attend and learn about caring for animals.

”It will be a clinical program. We already have nursing classes on site doing testing and field work,” he said.

Frost said Kent State students are at the facility for classes but additional learning areas will be added for radiology, nursing and surgery classes.

Pilcher said plans are also to expand dog training programs and expand on the obedience classes.

”These are six-week classes that are well attended. The classes fill up quickly,” Frost said.

Pilcher, who is also an attorney, said he does a lot of public speaking as a lawyer and gives seminars to attorneys. He said will speak to people about pet trusts for estate planning where people can provide ongoing care for their pets after they die.

”The laws have changed dramatically over the last 10 years with the special place pets have in many people’s lives. Trusts can be set up to take care of pets after a person’s death,” he said.

Frost said there is a reading program offered once a month for children under 14 who can read to an animal with no contact. After children have taken classes offered 11 a.m. Saturday about the program, they can read to an animal.

”This is a less stressful situation to the child who can read to a non-judgmental pet,” she said.

Pilcher said events being planned are a pet walk in the fall and a motorcycle fundraising ride next year.

There is also a need at the AWL for volunteers to walk dogs, clean, do laundry and help where needed.

Pilcher said dogs, cats, pet rats, rabbits, guinea pigs and turtles are available for adoption.

He said one major plan he is working on is ”We need to be looking at ourselves as more than a shelter but also a business and distinguish ourselves from other organizations. We are looking at what image, slogan or catchy phrase that will be immediately associated with us,” he said.

Pilcher said the AWL is a charitable organization designed to help animals in need. He said humane officer candidates are being sought to help enforce laws against animal abuse and neglect.

AWL hours are noon to 6 pm. Tuesday to Saturday with adoptions closing 5 p.m. Call 330-539-5300.