LINCOLNTON––Jana Avilés is the new animal services director for Lincoln County, effective March 28.
That’s the word Tuesday from Lincoln County Manager Davin Madden. As Madden informed, Avilés brings more than 12 years of animal services welfare experience to the table. She has initiated and implemented lifesaving programs for two municipal animal shelters in North Carolina. Avilés was previously the placement co-ordinator for Cabarrus County’s animal services department for four years and was then promoted to its animal shelter care supervisory position. She has been the director of animal services for Stanly County over the past two years, and she implemented policies and procedures to dramatically increase its live release rate. Stanly County Animal Protective Services remained a no-kill shelter during her tenure.
Avilés has a strong focus on community outreach efforts, the placement of special-needs pets and addressing compassion fatigue in the animal welfare field.
“I am excited for the opportunity to work alongside county manager Davin Madden and the incredible team of people at Lincoln County Animal Services,” she said. “Lincoln County has been a leader in the no-kill movement across North Carolina. I am hopeful that my skills, experience and connections can lead Lincoln County Animal Services into the next phase of success. I look forward to making connections with local organizations in order to promote continued lifesaving and community support for the pets and people of Lincoln County.”
Avilés has always been committed to serving animals. She has extensive experience with veterinary medicine in general practice and in veterinary emergency rooms. But she says she truly found her calling in animal shelter medicine. She has been directly involved in the adoption and rescue placement for more than 15,000 dogs and cats throughout her career.
She has an associate in science degree, and she plans to pursue a master’s degree in animal shelter medicine. She is also pet CPR-certified and fear-free (canine and feline calming techniques) shelter certified. She has connections with many national welfare organizations, including the well-known Best Friends Animal Society, the Bissell Pet Foundation and the Humane Society of the United States.
In her free time, Avilés enjoys reading, shopping, romantic comedies and new restaurants. She also likes traveling, trips to Disney World and all things Disney-related. She and husband Jonathan have a large ménagerie of pets, including an old tabby cat named Tig.
Madden extolled Avilés for her abilities.
“Jana has a vast degree of experience and knowledge, regarding animal services and welfare,” he said, “especially in the area of no-kill sheltering. With her leadership and experience, we are excited to see a continuation of our mission and what future opportunities she offers as the Lincoln County animal services director.”
Avilés expressed her gratitude toward her colleagues, both those of her recent past and of her immediate future.
“Just a few months ago, I thought that I would never set foot in an animal shelter again,” she said, continuing, “The support that I received from everyone during my time at the Cabarrus Emergency Veterinary Clinic, especially upper management, was immeasurable. Stepping out of the shelter world left a void in my heart that nothing else could fill, so in an attempt of ‘if it’s meant to be, then it will happen,’ I applied for an open position with Lincoln County. Shortly after my interview, I received the phone call with a job offer, and I knew that I was preparing to begin the journey of a lifetime.
“On March 28,” she added, “I will walk through the doors of Lincoln County Animal Services and take my place as the new animal services director. I know that I have big shoes to fill, and I hope that I am able to make the previous management team proud. I look forward to working with county management, animal services, field services, Helping Animals to Survive (HATS) and other local organizations to see what we can do together as a team to promote animal welfare in not only Lincoln County but also North Carolina as well. Animal welfare is not just a passion or a hobby. It is a way of life that takes hold of you and refuses to let go. Here’s to the future!”