Cedar Valley Humane Society Hires New Exec. Director

By Mark Geary, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS – The Cedar Valley Humane Society has hired Zach Melton to be its new executive director. He started on Monday.

Last month, the shelter's executive board fired two co-directors and multiple staff members without any public explanation.

Melton moved to Iowa a few months ago. Previously, he managed a 24-hour animal hospital in Denver, Colorado. For the past few weeks, he's been working as a consultant at the Humane Society.

Melton now leads a humane society that needs a new image.

"It's going to be a big challenge and not necessarily one that we're afraid of. I think we understand what took place. You can't change the past. What you can do is focus on what got us there and how do we make sure it doesn't happen again," he said.

Melton isn't alarmed that the Humane Society has had seven directors in the past eight years. He simply wants to stabilize an organization that's become better known for controversy than cats.

"We need to get out there. We need to shake hands. We need to start to know the businesses. We need to start to know the people. We need to start to let them know we're here," Melton said.

In the past, some volunteers spoke out against the changes at the shelter. Volunteers at the shelter on Monday seemed confident about the direction everything is heading.

"I'm seeing some good things. When I first came out here recently, things were disorganized, but they're starting to get better," volunteer Pam Benest said.

Volunteer Sandy Earle said, "There's been a lot of positive changes and new employees. Things are moving in the right direction."

Melton doesn't have plans to make drastic changes any time soon. Instead, he wants to observe for awhile and then decide how to move forward.

Melton says the Humane Society is full right now. So, one of his top priorities involves finding a home for all those cats and dogs.
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