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New Animal Services director has passion for pets PDF Print E-mail
County News
Friday, 22 February 2013 13:02

Kim-Staton

Photo/Osceola County
Kim Staton is the new director of Osceola County Animal Services.

By Ken Jackson

Staff Writer

Osceola County’s new Director of Animal Services comes from various positions in state government and the private sector.

But, personally and professionally, Kim Staton comes from a position that centers on the welfare of animals.

 

Staton comes to the county after serving as the Southeast Regional Coordinator for the Humane Society of the United States before taking over the Osceola County Animal Control department’s leadership at the end of 2012.

She began work early to make a difference in the department and, most importantly, the lives of the animals it is working to rehabilitate and find homes for.

County commissioners approved a resolution on Feb. 11 that allows a reduction or waiver of adoption fees, giving the department some flexibility to adjust to times of heavier intake or to help promote adoptions during special events. Variable adoption rates were offered during the weekend following Valentine’s Day, with some rates slashed nearly in half.

The Humane Society in advance of a national competition puts this on for the prevention of cruelty to animals. The county will take part among 50 other shelters nationwide in the ASPCA’s $100,000 Challenge, a contest to see which office can achieve the highest live release rate by sending animals to homes from June through August.

The county’s participation in the event makes it available for ASPCA grant funds.

“We’ll need the community’s involvement to make this happen,” Staton said to the County Commission last month, noting that a publicity and marketing campaign will likely be necessary to post a high showing in the contest.

Commission Chairman Frank Attkisson said moves like these show that Staton already is leading the department in a new direction.

“I am absolutely thrilled that Osceola County is part of this year’s competition,” he said. “It will be exciting as we enlist the support and involvement of our community, friends and neighbors to help Animal Services help the animals. This is a very progressive first step.”

Staton said she wasn’t drawn to this line of work as a career as much as she was drawn to helping animals.

“My love for animals led me to this,” she said. “I am one of the few lucky people who have had the good fortune to live their passion. I cannot imagine having a job that didn’t somehow involve animals.”

Her work has taken her across the country and the Bahamas providing training and operational recommendations to various animal control and welfare organizations. She has worked to develop animal legislation in Florida and other states, investigated and prepared for prosecution cases of animal cruelty and been involved in animal disaster response efforts such as those following Hurricane Katrina.

While looking to increase adoptions in Osceola County and raise community awareness about proper animal care, Staton wants residents to know that Animal Control aren’t “the bad guys.”

“We are tasked with enforcing local animal laws but also believe in giving pet owners the chance to correct problems. We are becoming an organization that is much more about education and assistance,” she said. “Many people believe that all we do is impound animals and kill them. Nothing could be further from the truth. We would much prefer pets stay at home where they belong and avoid having them come to the shelter at all.”

Staton listed public safety and getting adoptable animals re-homed as her top two priorities, but said community involvement and support will be essential in furthering the department’s efforts.

“That is why we have recently started taking volunteer applications. We know that having the community behind our programs will be instrumental to achieving our goals,” she said.

And, she practices what she preaches. Staton’s three dogs, Newman, Blue and Jake are all from rescues.

“Newman came from a hoarding case that involved almost 500 dogs, Blue was a shelter adoption, and Jake was a dog near death when he came into my life,” she said, also noting that she owns a horse, Promise, a rescue from Louisiana.

“They are all healthy and happy at this point and have brought a lot of joy to my life,” she said. “I can’t imagine life without my pets.”

 

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